Jessica Mayhew reviews Future Blues by Michael S. Begnal
Beginning at the end of this collection, Michael Begnal notes the poet’s refusal “to fix ourselves/ in time or ink” (‘Manifesto’), and this would serve just as well as an epigram to Future Blues. This is a collection aware of the fragility and harshness of time and language, and a refusal to be rooted in the stasis of either. Begnal’s poetry is fluid and immediate, and his use of textual play allows it to slip from being pinned to the formal.
In ‘Primates,’ Begnal explores the “conception of the word/ HUMAN.” This poem examines a photograph of a group of chimpanzees, comparing it to an early-morning glimpse of the self in a mirror, “a face so secretly and fiercely familiar,” which readers will be able to wryly identify with.