The End of the West by Michael Dickman
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
Dog Eared Review by Lindsey Lewis Smithson (review contributor)
Michael Dickman’s debut collection of poems The End of the West from Copper Canyon (2009) reads like a physical move through grief and acceptance. The first poem, “Nervous System,” sets the path that the rest of the collection follows, with lines like “Make a list / of everything that’s / ever been // on fire—,” All of us running around / outside our / deaths” and “I wish I could look down past the burning chandelier inside me.”
The early poems deal with several different deaths or separations, but the emotional turn begins to appear in the poem “Returning to Church,” saying “I get the feeling / diamond after / diamond / is what’s really / going to happen.” Near the end of the collection the reader is offered not only relief, but also a rally cry that everything will be alright; “What I have / is finally invisible // Singing a little tune They can’t take that away from me.
The early pages are dark, and may be emotionally difficult for some readers, however the path that Dickman paves is a beautiful one of strength and growth. Follow him and you won’t be sorry you did.
Like many readers I like to dog ear, highlight, and make notes in my books as I read them. Sometimes a single line stands out, other times it is an image, the spacing, or a feeling I had that will cause me to pause and take note. Here are the pages that I Dog Eared in The End of the West:
Pages 3, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 24, 32, 39, 41, 44, 45, 50, 51, 56, 58, 63
Lindsey Lewis Smithson is the Editor of Straight Forward Poetry. Some of her poetry has appeared on , , , and