A Mouth in California

The following are titles of poems in Graham Foust's exciting new books of poems: "Poem with Manifest Destiny," "Poem with Concussion," and "Poem to Realism." Although these titles might imply that the collection is extremely self-referential, the meta-ness of these poems turns outward instead of inward. They are tight constructions that point to a mood or new thought that then relates back to the title through interesting, heady maneuvers, and further back to the act of writing itself. These poems, often ironic, dark, and funny, have an expansive clarity that recreates the feeling of discovering something important, but that discovery is much more than the words on the page. In "Poem with Feelings," Foust writes:

There's always been a pointlessness. Rejoice.

In A Mouth in California, language is the medium through which we rejoice in the dark irony and complexity of our time.

This book review originally appeared in American Poets.