“I am -, I am buried. Here.”
An emphatic conclusion rounds off a collection that captures the beauty of nature and a persona able to find beauty in a world they’ve grown tired of. Jay Hopler’s Green Squall is some of the most impressive garden-centric poetry I’ve read.
The focus of a person’s life told from beginning to end is a clever motif which stands out as one of the collection’s most enjoyable themes. Hopler balances melancholy with a self-deprecating voice efficiently, as seen in the ‘Frustrated Angel.’ It may deviate from the dominant themes of flowers and trees but the image of a pissed off Guardian Angel chastising Hopler for being a momma’s boy is hilarious.
The presence of turning nouns into verbs in the likes of ‘In the Garden’ and ‘With both eyes closed’ is a quirky yet effective device. “The grass was lizarding, green and on a rampage.” The imagery of grass moving like a lizard is refreshingly appropriate, as is the moon being “vampired” in ‘With both eyes closed.’ Hopler isn’t afraid to experiment while still remaining loyal to his overall theme with the inclusion of ‘Firecracker Catalogue’ listing a variety of flowers blended with firework imagery.
Another of my favourite poems is ‘The Wildflower Field’ which includes more fireworks and flowers. The language of “fireflowers. Wildfires. The light shining out like heat from their yellow heads” is beautiful and provides the reader with a vivid impression of a firework display taking place before their eyes.
Green Squall challenges the reader with the notion of Paradise being little more than a prison. The tongue in cheek observations and cynical anecdotes are peppered with the magnificence of nature. It can be bought here.