A REVIEW BY
Poets aren’t given enough credit.
Joseph Gant sits among the underrated.
His poetry chapbook Zero Division houses upwards
of 100 poems, many of which were first featured
in various magazines and anthologies.
Speaking as a writer myself, his pieces
inspired me with their elusive, sometimes
devastating descriptors. I would not go
so far to say they haunted my mind days after reading, but they did enough to give me chills in the moment. Personally, I wouldn’t consider this a fault, but a success. It means a lot what an artist can do within the realms of immediacy.
Mr. Gant succeeds in taking slices of simple, lonely lives and forcing the reader to come to terms with all of their elements, even those that aren’t picturesque or formulaic. Where I Sit And Eat My Mashed
Potatoes begins on the subject of canine defecation. In Little Toys, he bluntly delivers the truth concerning sweat shops. Unblinkingly he summarizes depression and apathy in Let Me Be. Meanwhile in Whiskey Lips, we are told that "the moon doesn’t shine; it cries when it’s drunk".
Many of his topics are crudely beautiful. He speaks of lives, loves and yearnings that most aren’t keen to mention. There are little pieces of the world crammed into this chapbook. Many pieces we’d prefer to ignore or forget.
One of the things I love about this collection is that all the emotions expressed therein are made accessible to any reader who may come upon it. He writes with the lights on and the volume turned low, tenderly spreading seeds on a fertile imagination.
I would only ask that he might find pleasures in a more experimental ground, toying with not only concepts, but structure and rhythm as well.
At times, his pieces abandon formality for the sake of honesty. One such poem Pushed At Both Ends wiggled its way into my cranium and stayed there. I can’t rationally explain my connection to this
particular string of verse. Objectively I could admit it holds literary merit, but isn’t the most glowing example of Joseph Gant’s talents. Still, it struck me with its brevity and almost disjointed approach to the thought stream.
In it he states quite simply, "Everything’s a sham."
This is an honest collection for honest readers. We know honesty doesn’t always take us to the light. In fact, being truthful about our own feelings and perspectives can serve to reveal the darkest parts of
ourselves. Zero Division embraces this.
But of course, what is poetry but the most unquantifiable art. One cannot judge a poem any more than one can grade a sunset on its use of colour.
You can’t take my word for it; the only way you’ll know is by way of reading.