speCt is proud to publish Colby Gillette's first full book of poetry, Hymn Underground!
85 pages, 5" x 8", letterpress cover
Rusty Morrison on Colby Gillette’s Hymn Underground
Gillette sculpts with language a representation of human existence so keenly and resonantly alive that his lines of lyric allow us to visualize more than it is our norm to notice. He is no simple Pygmalion—though we do come away deeply aware of the beauty surrounding us that we too often ignore, we also face our flaws and frail human exigencies. Thus we are more able to bridge the paradoxes inherent in our lives. Though his lyrics reach into the firmament, he sings a “Hymn Underground.” As is the case in nearly every poem, the meanings of the title itself are porous to each question we ask of it, porous to each revelation that comes to us as we use our intellect and heart to engage with his work. Here is a text that is a song of praise and a song of what is buried, which shakes our psyches—we find in so many lines an earthquake of awareness that may at any moment change our relationship to the world as we know it. In Gillette’s realm, which readers realize they can see as their own, “ghosts happen /wholly in time /without a place or a break in rain…” Gillette gives his candor regarding the limits of language to assess experience, but also his trust that we will see value in continuing to use that flawed language to express the world as we find it: “Hand in hand and broken by the poem //we lope along and hang—happily twined fruit //shimmered from the branch //Thirst crowds our mouth, rounds our neck //We can and turn away to language.”