An astonishing new collection from one of our finest emerging poets
A shark’s tooth, the shape-shifting cloud drifting from a smokestack, the smoke detectors that hang, ominous but disregarded, overhead—very little escapes the watchful eye of Joshua Mehigan. The poems in Accepting the Disaster range from lyric miniatures like “The Crossroads,” a six-line sketch of an accident scene, to “The Orange Bottle,” an expansive narrative page-turner whose main character suffers a psychotic episode after quitting medication. Mehigan blends the naturalistic milieu of such great chroniclers of American life as Stephen Crane and Studs Terkel with the cinematic menace and wonder of Fritz Lang. Balanced by the music of his verse, this unusual combination brings an eerie resonance to the real lives and institutions it evokes.
These poems capture with equal tact the sinister quiet of a deserted Main Street, the tragic grandiosity of Michael Jackson, the loneliness of a self-loathing professor, the din of a cement factory, and the saving grandeur of the natural world. This much-anticipated second collection is the work of a nearly unrivaled craftsman, whose first book was called by Poetry “a work of some poise and finish, by turns delicate and robust.”