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Well Enough (2008): Truth in Advertising

Daniel Sumrall, Well Enough (Gold Wake Press, 2008)

[note: review originally published 13Oct2008]

photo credit:

It seems this title is so out-of-print that the publisher no longer even has a page concerning its existence.

Well Enough, a very short (five pages) chapbook, is in part saved by its brevity; after all, how can you give up on something that’s only five pages long? That’s short enough that one can suffer through even the worst writer without using up too much time. And Sumrall is far from the worst writer I’ve encountered this year (or, for that matter, this month). Still, he’s not the best, either. The poems in this brief collection seem to have little idea where they’ve been or, more importantly, where they’re going, which leads to aimless meandering about:

stern but efficient regarding this
current task much like a knife’s intense
precisions when hands lack curative
intent; how to respond to this is
a mystery. How do you admit
to having overheard something you
weren’t meant to?”
(“Well Enough”)

Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with aimless wandering about, but aimless wandering is at its best when fixed on a particular image rather than mucking about in intangibles. It’s not bad—when Sumrall focuses, there are some excellent lines to be found here—but this is a work of potential rather than fulfillment. ***

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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