When I begin a book of poetry I always read the first page, then the last page prior to devouring the rest of the work in between. This can tell you a great deal about the quality of the rest of the work contained within. I’ve put down more than a few books of poetry based on this little system of mine and it has never failed to save me hours of forced and agonizing reading.
In the case of Leigh Binder’s ‘Hope in the Well of Angst’, the first verse and the final verse serve as perfect sturdy bookends that support an expertly executed work of emotional intensity. This entire volume is a harrowing journey down the back alleys of human suffering and isolation. Just when you catch your breath, you turn the page and once again are faced with the gritty reality of human frailty and confusion. However, what truly sets this book apart from similar works that chronicle desolation and pain, are the seemingly random bits of wry humour dotting this landscape of despair. Many times throughout, the satire adds a lightness to contrast the heaviness of the piece and in so doing, make that which is distasteful, palatable.
All good writers are critically aware of the importance of capturing a reader’s attention and then utilizing it to leave a lasting impression. In this regard, Leigh Binder has expertly and strategically placed his sounds, words and visuals so they leave not only an impression but also a stain on the heart. The reader’s interest is immediately engaged by the use of harsh imagery and great skill is evident when one takes note of where certain words are situated, with a special emphasis on the emotional impact of each syllable and sound. The subject matter is as limitless as this life. The author alternates effectively between critical detached observation and soul gutting self examination.
In addition, many poems reflect on the impact of modern American society and its impact on the human psyche and spirit. It is a testament to the social consciousness and awareness of any artist when they turn the illuminating light of brutal truth on the era and culture in which they live. This particular aspect of his work, is what focuses a reader on a point of reference and ultimately turns him/her into an ally in the struggle to understand the author’s perspective.
This is not an easy read nor is it for the faint of heart. It is however, for those who desire something meaty, true and meaningful, as well as an intellectual tear through the fabric of emotion. My prediction is that Leigh Binder will have a breakthrough in mainstream publishing within the next two years, so keep an eye on his progress and for god sake, read his blog: bindo.wordpress.com it is nothing short of daily brilliance and an ever evolving life story.
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