Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ARC Review: Telos and Other Psychographs by Euphrates Moss

Title: Telos and Other Psychographs
Author: Euphrates Moss
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Riverrun Quark
Genre: Poetry, Anthology, Adult

I received an ARC from the author in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.  I do not recommend this book for younger audiences due to mature language and content.

Description from GoodReads
Telos and Other Psychographs is a book of poems by Euphrates Moss, a graduate with a B.A. in English/Creative Writing from Seattle University. Don't hold that against him. The poems in this book are about Roman times, Shakespearean times, and the general hardships and oddities of life. Spliced in are philosophies, sciences, various observations, aphorisms, and references from just about any book Euphrates could get his hands on- except the bad ones.

My Thoughts
Wow.  This is going to be a difficult book to review.  It was absolutely NOTHING like I expected which was a very pleasant surprise.  

I absolutely loved that Moss drew on his educational background in his work.  I definitely noticed hints of Whitman, Cummings, Shakespeare, Euripides and so many more!  This made for a very beautiful piece.  There were several pieces, such as the following excerpt, that I drooled over.  On the flip side, however, Moss's reliance on so many references makes this a difficult read for anyone who does not have an English degree or has chosen to do quite a bit of classical reading.  So many people today choose to stay away from classic pieces because they are difficult.  However, there is a reason that these pieces have survived and have been taught in high schools and colleges.  They are worth getting through the difficult reading and considering the meaty themes and ideas brought forth.  Moss's work tries just as hard as the classics to bring these ideas forward.  This shows me just how talented he is and just how much effort he is willing to put forth to create a truly wonderful piece.

Additionally, I appreciated that Moss was not afraid to discuss the difficult parts of life.  He brings up drugs, rape, and many of the other dark parts of life.  These are not brought into the book to shock anyone or to throw anything in anyone's face.  He is genuinely considering these elements.  In a world that shies away from anything uncomfortable, I want to commend Moss for attacking these things head on.

The first criticism I have of this piece is that it will be very difficult for general readers.  While I will be willing to go back and research and reread this piece, I know that most other people will not.  I am terrified that the specialized knowledge necessary to appreciate such a piece will encourage many to DNF this volume.

My second criticism, however, is that there seems to be no obvious organization of this piece.  When I go back to reread this, it would be helpful to be able to find pieces if the table of contents told me what order pieces were in.  This could be by title, by topic, or even by the author that inspired the section.  I will not enjoy flipping through this page hoping that I will magically land on the correct page as I look for the poem I am seeking-especially when the first poem spans 173 pages and I may only be looking for a specific canto.

My Rating


Canto II.

Call out your meaningful name,
Cast these fettered raiments of humbility aside
Reniego de grillos, aunque sean d’oro.
Unbind the leaves of your book,
Take the stitching from the spine, and let them, your fate to the
Like the Cumaean Sybil before you;
The truth put together at Gathering and Order.
Let it carry yr notes, yr clothes, yr accoutrements, yr Spanish
warble, yr buxom hide, yr randy yield
Sing into autumn force what you will
The sweet down unto the bitter as it will

Truly, what am I?
Am I the archer, shooting words as arrows— jibes to the faulty
at heart?
Am I the blacksmith, applying pressure, heat tempering,
carefully calibrating and constructing each word, before
use finds it on the battlefield?
Am I the chameleon, shifting color, camouflaging myself that I
could ‘scape death at the hands of predators?
Or am I the minister, who prays and eulogizes for those left
behind, face up?
Maybe the architect? The blueprint maker?
Or mayhap I am just an ass among the laity, laughing at broken
wind, endlessly inconsequential, not in the least worthy
as an object of jealousy, a Mozart stripped of the
natural talent, child prodigy tendencies, and pure genius

Traits I share with so many persons
Yet none of them are me
For they have all achieved so much
And I am but a flea

About the Author
Euphrates has been writing since age 3. He really discovered poetry, though, at the age of 21. He likes to cook omelets, pet and talk to his cat, and the mundane life lived between doing awesome things.

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