“In the Garden (jan unit)” Poems by Monty Reid (20 pages, The Red Ceilings Press)
In 12 brief poems (1 for each month on the calendar) Monty Reid spins a cycle that mixes mythology, science and confessional into a cautiously metaphysical package.
He doesn’t work the garden/gardening conceit itself too deeply, refraining from easy and obvious metaphor. His objective seems much looser and consciously ambiguous.
The cycle could be a conversation between friends or lovers planning to tend a patch of earth. It could a god engaging its creations on their mythology. It could even be read as a dialogue of the mind with itself and its own processes, played out in a slight, suburban pastoral.
What certainly is at work is a look at how we struggle to build the meaningful and the lasting in the face of existential doubt. “Maybe the snow/won’t melt” says the narrator in “February” alluding to this comfortable hesitation at even starting towards a goal.
Reid’s own creations are little more than loose collections of sentences – not the most rhythmically satisfying poetic form, but appropriate for a work that is more about struggling with the act of creation rather than fully inhabiting the role of progenitor. Which, to force a little conceit of our own, does make for an interesting crop of thought.