Persea Books, 2011
In Patrick Rosal's third collection of poems, themes of violence
and beauty often coincide within the narrative. Rosal ends
one poem in the collection, "Little Men with Fast Hands,"
with the simple statement "the history's deep." That history
includes reflection on family, gender, nationality, and an
examination of the poet's own lineage through odes, parables,
and elegies, among other modes.
Though the poems of Boneshepherds are located in a world
where violence and hardship persist, they are also the vehicles
for displays of human connection and outreach. Terrance
Hayes, in his praise of Rosal, points out that "[e]very heartbreak,
grief, and outrage is laced with a hopefulness born not
just of Patrick Rosal's tremendous gifts as a poet, but of his
humanity." These moments of hopefulness are what carry the
reader through, providing lasting emotional substance, even
in the face of pain. From "Undrowning":
We can't call up all the wreckage of generations.
Do not forget you are witness
to ascent. Tonight, sleep
well.When solitude calls
it doesn't mean to kill,
but offers the kind of sight one earns
when you've lain a long time still.