Patterns of Reconciliation, By Matt Mauldin, 88 pgs.

Matt Mauldin’s old band Car Vs. Driver was always on the periphery of the music my friends and I listened to—I knew the band’s name and heard a track here and there (most notably on the excellent Whirled Records compilation Attaining the Supreme) but I never spent much time with the band. This poetry collection changed that.

Contained in Patterns of Reconciliation are poems collected between 1993 and 2017. Some of these first appeared in songs as lyrics, and others were drafted on Mauldin’s blog. I was engaged throughout, due in large part to Mauldin’s refusal to rest on laurels: he shifts form and tone effortlessly. Some of these poems are fairly narrative in nature, while others are impressionistic in their reliance on sensory detail to convey emotion. Topics vary from specific experiences, friends, thoughts about “the system,” about marriage, to longer, spiritual psychedelic work evocative of Daniel Higgs’s stuff.

I know, I know: poetry ain’t punk, maaaaaan! Whatever. That tired refrain is for people who haven’t checked in with the form since being forced to read some Rod McCuen bullshit in high school. Get over yourself and check out Mauldin’s stuff, which is deep and wide enough for everyone. –Michael T. Fournier (Robot Enemy Publications, bobrobart.bigcartel.com)

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