Tuesday, April 21, 2020


On a whim, I picked up John McCullough's poetry collection Spacecraft last year at Gay's the World  and I am glad I did. This is a terse but expressive volume, with vocabulary, sometimes rectifying the antiquated ("Flittermouse") and lyricism that requires an intimate and involved read. McCullough's voice and poems are unique, with a deep lexicon, sometimes heightened and tempered by emotion. The use of "space" in the title ranges from physical ones: cafes, churches, museum booths, a vault. To the space one leaves behind--especially in the elegiac sense, with McCullough writing about the death of his lover. I found myself pausing on poems that fixated upon a specific object, like the goo of a lava lamp, and later, "The Fog," which I read a few times as I found it so compelling and beautiful. "It is malt perfume and frontiers crossed / over and over. It is a horror movie villain, / chopped away at its roots--dying luridly, / springing up after the credits. It is a casual / voice informing me this was never my life..." I am barely skimming the surface here of McCullough's collection of substantial intelligence and craft.

-Jeffery Berg

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