Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review of THE HALLELUJAH OF LISTENING by Preston H. Hood

Review of THE HALLELUJAH OF LISTENING by Preston H. Hood, Cervena Barva Press, PO Box 440357, W. Somerville, MA 02144-3222,, 59 pages, $7, 2011

Review by Barbara Bialick, author of TIME LEAVES

Preston H. Hood’s writing is in a rolling rhythmic voice. Some of his images are powerful, while others are plain and every day. Is he the American Every Man veteran soldier? In some ways yes, but in other ways I doubt it. He has some very strange lines such as in “Opening in the Sky”: “Before the dead crawl out I stitch it up/with the white line of my thinking…” Or, in “Hazy Light”: “For too long you hoarded/two dollar bills of nothing/like the no-light forest/triple canopy of grief…”

Sometimes he loves his grandson or some woman, we assume. But there’s little about human relationships. There’s more about the voices of nature and the ghosts of veterans past. In “To Shadow” he writes “To shadow go the wounded & scarred, each/of their kills smeared in blood…Gone to shadow the cawing crows flapping/with the walking dead/those/dark wings of war.”

In “First Born” he concludes, he’s “dropped from the shared womb of his mother’s drinking/incubated three months/time shafts through him, down-pointing/what’s next/the rain/fog/purification of lather sky…go back/listen/know the fear of his deepest self/talk to it like it’s him, which it is/find what’s lost.”

But what he claims he’ll most remember are his experiences in the Viet Nam War, such as he writes in “Boats Near Hue”: “A sail luffs & I imagine these men, their boats,/bobbing on the South China Sea, Dark clouds shoulder into a gathering storm/Shift of wind, push of boat./One false move might trigger a mine.”

Hood was born in Fall River, MA and grew up in Swansea, MA. He served in Viet Nam with Seal Team2 (1970). He has a BA from UMass-Boston, a BS from the University of Southern, Maine, and an ME from the University of Maine, Orono. After attending the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences for nine years, he co-edited “Summer Home Review” with Jacqueline Loring and Gary Rafferty. He’s currently a retired teacher and administrator

1 comment:

  1. I had the pleasure of hearing Preston read. The pleasure was only amplified upon meeting him. This man writes far better poems than I read in the "Gettysburg Review," "Pank," or even "Tin House." He really is a delight to read.