BOOK REVIEW: The Drum That Beats Within Us by Mike Bond

The Drum That Beats Within UsThe Drum That Beats Within Us by Mike Bond
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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This collection of short form poems touch on themes of nature, Americana, and the Native American experience, but it covers a lot of ground and is, ultimately, a reflection of Bond’s experience and philosophy in poetic form. Among the 80+ poems, there are some as short and sparse as haiku, but most run between a page or two.

In the prologue, Bond takes up the eternal argument of whether free verse is poetry, and the antithesis of whether rhymed and metered poetry is “serious poetry.” His view, not dissimilar to my own, is that there is room for the coexistence of these two poetic forms. That said, he overwhelmingly favors free verse in practice – as do most poets in the modern era – though not exclusively so.

I enjoyed this collection. It offers food-for-thought, beautiful language, and doesn’t wallow in a view of the world (or the poet’s life) as a fetid morass (as is a common theme in poetry collections these days.) It’s worth reading as an exemplar of a personal poetic statement. The collection offers examples of verse that is evocative without sopping with sentimentality. In the prologue, Bond urges expression through the poetic form, and this is him putting his money where his mouth is.

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