I just found this review of Watering the Dead by C.L. Bledsoe. It was originally posted 6/21/12


Watering the Dead, poems by Jason Irwin. Ohio: Pavement Saw Press, 2007.

I’ve been meaning to get to this one for a while, but I had a baby, so…but I finally had a chance to read this collection and I loved it. Jason Irwin first came to my attention with his phenomenal chapbook Some Days It’s a Love Story, which I reviewed here. Pretty much what I said about the chapbook is true for the full length collection. He's done exactly what he should've done; expanded the solid chap. into a really good collection.

Irwin dealt with working class life, hard times in the rust belt. His language was clean and powerful. I was excited to see such a profoundly talented new voice. In Watering the Dead, Irwin continues with these themes. He's incorporated several poems from the chapbook into this debut collection, so it's got a solid core. Here's a link to the website with several of the better poems.

Several of Irwin's poems deal with growing up in a working class neighborhood. There are portraits of abuse, desperation, fathers who've wasted their lives for the profits of others, and young men who can already see their deaths on the horizon. Irwin writes like a Bruce Springsteen song. These poems depict hard lives -- but Irwin isn't pouring it on; he's simply chronicling the America we so rarely see in university literary journals.

The book is available here.


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