“Inventory of Doubts” by Landon Godfrey

You have to keep your eyes open when you read these poems, or you’ll miss something: the mis-order of words, the capitals of titles, or the meaning of a blank space. An innate playfulness permeates the book, a unique sense of whimsy that helps us stand on our heads and look at the world differently.

One particularly evocative element of many of these poems is the personification of unusual objects. I particularly liked what the “Dishrag” had to say. I also enjoyed the humorous portrayal of the glass and the floor tile it’s about to smash on in “Entropy,” a microscopic study of point of view.

Most of the poems eschew the usual form of poetic lines and punctuation, a creative technique that has limited effect as the absence of something. However, when overused it tends to bring attention to the feeling that whatever is missing was something rather important, and leaves the work poorer for its avoidance. Then along comes “First Date,” where a new form of punctuation is created, but it doesn’t really help us to understand. Perhaps I should go back and read it one more time. You never know. In “Wedding Ring,” the shape says everything. This is a hit-or-miss approach.

This volume has a nice variety of moods, moving from the humorous to the macabre and back through the whimsical,  but always light: the style frustrates intensity or passion.

Another strength is the creativity of the imagery, often putting two completely disparate elements together for amazing results, for the most part humorous, sometimes surprising. So, despite the lack of emotional power, the works draw us to read them carefully in case we miss something.

A fun and interesting read.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

 

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