Metaphorical God: Poemsby Kimberly Johnson
Pub. Date: 07/28/2008
Publisher: Persea Books
No poet writing today confronts the perplexities of the divine with more pizzazz than Kimberly Johnson. In A Metaphorical God, Johnson showcases her gifts for mining language for its hidden gems and its/i>/b>/i>
"Dazzling....She writes with Milton open at her elbow but with the real dirt of a real Utah under her fingertips."The Yale Review
No poet writing today confronts the perplexities of the divine with more pizzazz than Kimberly Johnson. In A Metaphorical God, Johnson showcases her gifts for mining language for its hidden gems and its gospel ("my tongue is a fovent choir, / a cloven fire"), using what she unearths to delve deep into mysteries both epistemological and holy.
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Kimberly Johnson proves to be a master of language in her book of poems A Metaphorical God. Not only does she expertly structure her sentences to give the largest impact possible, but makes capturing pictures and emotions seem almost effortless in her short narrative like poems. Action packed in the way she delivers a story, Johnson's work is some of the most highly entertaining and heartfelt poetry I have ever read. Through her book of poetry Johnson takes the reader along on her quest to understand the divine and come to terms with a God that holds so many different meanings for her. The honesty in her quest and the earnestness in her questioning of divinity in each poem are incredibly moving serving to make her poetry the perfect introduction to the genre. The subject matter of Johnson's poems is very relatable to the everyday person and falls far from the flowery, romanticized poetry that most people think about when they hear the genre mentioned. She writes about being human and the little experiences that make us unique, singing praises to everything from her episiotomy to the castration of sheep. Entirely down to earth, Johnson connects with her readers on a base level while still creating a beautiful piece of literary artwork. Whether you have studied poetry for years or you are just trying it out, Johnson provides the right range of talent with easily relatable topics making her work so uniquely and widely appropriate. With all the skill of the poets like Milton and Dickson with the nitty-gritty appeal of a naturalist she entertains, captivates and touches the soul.
Kimberly Johnson's A Metaphorical God is a collection of poetry that any poet, enthusiast, or writer would love. Never have I been so challenged when I read poetry. I mean challenged because her poems aren't vague and nebulous; they're seemingly coded because of the language she uses. In the everyday life we lead we are riddled with generalities. Even when someone tries to explain something in great detail they are generalities compared to Kimberly Johnson's style of writing. She uses words that will be the keys to deciphering her poetry. I highly recommend the Oxford English Dictionary to those who read this book. I sat with my Oxford English Dictionary and my copy of A Metaphorical God and delicately devoured her poetry. It was more than simply an Easter Egg Hunt. It was an exploration of meaning. It was a journey through the wide world we live in. I sluiced with the noctilucent cirrus across the dawning sky (49). I learned that a horticulturist is more similar to one who panders to sexual debauchery than to a hare (51). I found out that I prefer the type of divination done by a haruspex than to that of wind (13,50). Isn't that what poetry is meant to do? Poetry is a great experience. Your response to the poem should be the most important to you. If you're looking for an enjoyable and challenging experience, please read this book. You'll thank me later. My experience was that of inspiration to do more. I was inspired to read more, so that I could learn more words because they can be beautiful, interesting, and specific.
Johnson's poems have enough energy, urgency, and passion to make Donne sweat. While her poems are often demanding, taking time to study her poems (look up words or allusions, etc.) will always turn out to be a rewarding experience. Johnson is a master of lean, beautiful language.