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Book Review: Each Thing Touches

Each Thing Touches. Marc Frazier. Glass Lyre Press, May 27, 2015, Trade Paperback, 106 pages.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Melvin. 

Each Thing Touches is the second poetry collection from Illinois Arts Council Award winner Marc Frazier. Readers who enjoyed his first collection, The Way Here, will find the same strength of voice and resonating imagery carry thorough his new collection of poetry. This new book collects story moments that capture movement from one state of being into another. Sometimes the two states converge, demonstrating the keen edge where the mundane meets the spiritual.

There are poems like The Crows, where youth crumbles to reveal wisdom. Other poems, such as My Sister’s Keeper, demonstrate the guilt of loss and fire of grief. The poem narratives range in age and gender, demonstrating Frazier’s uncanny emotional intellect. Covering a distance from the Midwest to Japan, through farms and cities, the physical landscape becomes a shadow to the incandescent emotions of the poems. The movement of place from one poem to another maintains a feeling of subtle yet seismic shifts within the poetic narrative.

Appropriate to the title, Each Thing Touches, feelings and moments connect creating a current of energy that follows through life even when we feel still. This collection is a captivating work that connects the reader to these energy currents through imagery often focused on the body, as in Chicago Hands, and through succinct language. There are sparks of dire imagery and sound such as in Something Happened. The Weight of Each Word is especially powerful because it evokes the helplessness of past tense. We call this “processing” now, but we used to call it coping or acceptance, the human equivalent of making sense of the data.

As in his first collection, Frazier is deeply in tune with the natural world. Much of the millennial computer-based language is absent and so each poem is an encapsulation of humanity with a natural pulse. However, there is nothing antiquated about this work. He is a present-day narrator communicating with elemental modern language.

My favorite way to approach the collection was to read a single poem in the morning and, like a meditation, revisit it throughout the day, letting it resonate. The poems are at once intimate and close, creating a feeling of shared experience and comfort. Overall, the collection is an entirely satisfying experience of our modern lives as we move from one moment to the next, even to our last.


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