The Word Museum
LESSONS FOR A BARREN POPULATION is a book of intelligent, discerning poetry written by a Pulitzer Prize Nominee. It is accessible, thought-provoking, haunting, multi-layered, and deserving more accolades than can be conveyed in a short review.
Reading through it the first time, I tried to find comparisons to the works of some of my favorite poets and thought: Hart Crane and the Naturalistic influence--and then shook my head. The flavor of Crane was there, but so were many other flavors: Donne, Pope, Jeffers, Frost, Stafford, Inada, Elliot (without the preening and pretension), but thankfully I didn't find any of the Beat Poets or e. e. cummings.
After search though my collection of poetry and books on literary criticism, I finally had to conclude that Mr. Stanbrough, through astute observation and a skillful turn of a phrase, takes poetry to a new dimension, a sphere of lucidity and grace that is uniquely his own.
Under the Covers Book Reviews
Enmeshed in the silvery strands of truth are ordinary words about ordinary things, some as ugly as sexual abuse of children, some as beautiful as the poem about a grandson's hands, and all giving a too brief glimpse into
enlightenment, knowledge, and maturity. This book is extraordinary and deserves far more praise than I have space to give it here.
Very Highly Recommended!
J. Lynn Cutts
You don't have to be a scholar, a philosopher, or a sociologist to get something from Lessons for a Barren Population. Poet Harvey Stanbrough's style is easily accessible to everyone.
He has taken a good hard look at himself and society, and he isn't always happy with what he has seen. His work is intense, honest, frequently touching, and pulls no punches, yet these poems show compassion, humor, and he turns his pen on himself as often as he aims it at others; there is light beneath the dark and optimism beneath the pessimism. Stanbrough does not ask you to agree, or even like what he says; he just asks you to listen to something a little different and, perhaps, to think a little differently, too.
Few of us have the courage to examine our own souls, let alone offer up our findings to others; by sharing with us what he has found in examining his, Stanbrough has offered us an eloquent glimpse of some truths that might lie within ours.