The Watchmaker's TableBook - 2008
In his most personal collection to date, Brian Bartlett meditates upon time and family. We share his son's discovery of newborn spiders and his daughter's first grasp of infinity as a concept. In companion poems on the births of his mother and father, Bartlett makes you feel as if you were alive at those moments in history. The opening poem, "All the Train Trips," displays an uncanny sense of homes and families lost and the casual friendships struck up in conversations in the "bar car." "Pearly Everlasting" expresses a longing to register the world in the body through the naming of flowers.
Books and the history of poetry shape time for Bartlett, whether in found poems woven from the words of books inherited from ancestors or in the words of great poets that, despite the distance, convey a shared sense of humanity. Wrestling with time as if he were both Jacob and the angel, Bartlett speaks both for time's dominion and for human mutability.