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Review: Matrix Magazine

July 26, 2008

A nice review in the new Matrix Magazine (not available online, so pasted below). We poets may not get a great number of reviews anymore, but what reviews we do get can trail in over two, three or even four years, which can make for nice (or I suppose nasty) surprises. This little one is yet another “nice” for The Rush to Here. What are you waiting for?

The Rush to Here
By George Murray
Nightwood Editions, 2007
Read by Jakub Stachurski

“From a crack in the dark wall hang loose wires: / give a tug and watch society start / to unravel,” writes George Murray in “A Moment’s Autograph,” one of the opening poems of his fourth collection. It is a fitting introduction, as the four sequences of poems offer a kind of unraveling, an examination of the unseen, unaccounted moments of our lives: “The soft applause of snow on the window / has left you with the impression of being / watched.” Though many of the poems are borne of the speaker’s internal condition, they are never elusive or heady, as Murray moors his complex, often unanswered questions in evocative imagery. The three quatrains and closing couplet are recognizable and the form of the sonnet lends cohesion to an astounding range of subject matter, as Murray moves from Greek mythology to urban paranoia to god and the secular world.

Straying from a traditional sonnet’s rhyme schemes, Murray employs thought-rhymes, at times clear synonymic or antonymic pairings, at other times conceptual parallels or contrasts. This format is not apparent at the outset of most poems but slowly builds to create a level of tension within each piece. Conflict is an integral part of the sonnet form and this is perhaps the strongest aspect of the
collection, as Murray’s speakers are often alone, unrequited and unanswered (“you spend an extra night alone with the lust / that keeps you lonely, and nothing new comes / of it, no catastrophic difference”). There are no easy answers, no pseudo-revelations be found here. There is an underlying sense of hope but it is hard-won.

The expansive subject matter and intensity in Murray’s discourse leave the reader in a reflective state, akin to the trance-like state one enters, having covered vast tracts of space, on a road trip. As with any good road trip, one finishes The Rush to Here affected in an inexplicable manner, even shaken, and all the better for it.

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