In The Floating Bridge, David Shumate vanquishes once and for all the notion that the prose poem is somehow inherently ‘not a real poem.’ This collection exhibits a sustained level of innate lyricism and imagism rarely seen even in conventional lyric free verse. They are densely concentrated distillations of minute moments in time, space, and psychology, volatile, possibly even explosive. Unfailingly, the little prose jewels in The Floating Bridge exhibit the most fundamental property of fine poetry: each whole is many times greater than the sum of its parts.
It is, at first, incredibly difficult to give Gray Jacobik’s Little Boy Blue the time it deserves. One long poem separated into a series of “movements,” this “memoir in verse” about a mother’s relationship with her bipolar son shatters any lingering definitions of confessional poetry or memoir, going beyond both to create a book that is stronger than either genre alone usually produces. Because of this, and because of the narrative drive of the memoir, the desire to find out what happens can override the urge to sit with a movement for a moment, to re-read, to wonder.