Review: ‘Dark Thirty’ – Santee Frazier

Dark Thirty (Sun Tracks Volume 65) Dark Thirty by Santee Frazier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What an incredible debut collection; Santee Frazier already displays a stunning talent for ‘the sequence’, for tying poems together in beautifully bizarre and ambiguous ways while allowing those poems to stand completely on their own in a multitude of unique ways.

My only real critique here is that this very clearly feels like two books of poetry pushed into one, as if we’re getting two halves instead of one whole. I’m not quite sold this is a flaw, however, as both halves are powerful and somehow feel complete, so how can I complain? I do think Frazier could have separated out each of these differing elements into two longer books, but I certainly don’t feel he’s necessarily robbed himself of anything but not doing so.

The real resonance here for me was the way he works so well in both approaches–the somewhat narrative, character-filled ‘world building’ of the first part as well as the more directly personal lyrical of the second. Whether his next book goes the way of the former or the latter, I’d love to read it.

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