Jeff Danielian is back with his fourth volume of poetry (to go along with four works of non-fiction geared toward educating youth), featuring his introduction, 56 poems and what he describes as “a short non-fiction adventure.” Danielian doesn’t pull any surprises with his writing style, keeping things humble and to the point.
My favorite poem of the collection is “17,” seemingly written about Danielian’s daughter before she starts her independent journey in the world. It’s emotional, powerful and caring. The poem is clearly full of love and is one that many parents can identify with.
My favorite line comes from “Life as a Stone,” and he uses it to both begin and end the poem. “The beginning is the end is the beginning” showcases the constant circle we attempt to maneuver through in hopes of reaching something. The line serves as a reminder that there is always work to be done, no matter how hard we strive for satisfaction.
Time is the theme of this collection. Danielian seemed inspired by the atmosphere and his observations of his friend and artist William Schaff’s home/work space, dubbed Fort Foreclosure. It’s either a sign of maturity or just the inevitable growing up in general, but there is a lot of reflection written into each poem. This serves to be his most impressive work.
Danielian ends the collection with a short non-fiction adventure to Prudence Island, featuring photography by Michael Cevoli, simply titled “The Writer and The Photographer.” The two head out on an early morning in the spring to start their adventure. Danielian does a great job describing their day. The best part of this writing is that he didn’t set out to create an intriguing story, instead letting the day itself navigate his words. He is a simple narrator, putting his observations into prose. Cevoli’s eight black and white pictures add an extra layer to Danielian’s descriptions. This makes for a nice book end to his introduction, in which he discusses his love and appreciation for Rhode Island, and especially his close knit town of Warren and the impact it’s had on his life.
Danielian writes with simple realism, and his poems all have a comfortable familiarity. It’s akin to listening to a new album by AC/DC or the Ramones: You know what you’re going to expect and anything different would be infuriating.
You can purchase Dispatches From the Fort and all other of Danielian’s work on his Amazon author page: amazon.com/Jeff-Danielian/e/B00HMTH4M4%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share.