How many people do you know who actually paid the rent for years accepting outrageous dares? Dares that often involved precipitous foreign travel? Exactly. But Noah Gershman did. He is a genuine dare devil, a professional dare devil. And as remarkable as that is, it was really only the lead-up to the much more substantial dare devilry that is his poems.
Gershman is one of the most imaginative poets I know. But wait! Before your eyes glaze over at this meaningless phrase of mine, think for a minute: most poets write perfectly acceptable, well-crafted poems about their lives. I’m certainly implicated in this. Most of us are. But Noah Gershman writes entirely from inside the imagination. And what most of us have forgotten is that the imagination, despite its name, is perfectly real, as real as football. The imagination, as we all used to know when we were kids reading exciting books about pirates or perhaps space pirates, impinges upon our lives in a way that is impossible to separate from the way our teachers or our families or our so-called leaders impinge upon them. And Gershman’s poems perform this for us beautifully. They are a gentle mix of the profound, the profoundly surprising, and the everyday. But in every case they are the imagination itself, speaking to us. And we recognize the rightness of this, the way Middle Earth seems to have been discovered for us by Tolkien rather than created. We recognize the imagination in its pure state speaking to us.
They are wondrously free of argument or bossiness. They don’t have anything to prove. In fact they have more questions than answers. They have more questions about themselves than you do. How many questions do you really have about Goatmen? His poem about them has more than that. And you will too, once you read it, because Gershman’s poems involve the reader immediately in a comfortably strange place – a place we all know – and ask, rather than demand, that we come along a little deeper into the darkness with him. Reading these poems is like collaborating with him to reconstruct something we all vaguely remember doing before, though whether it was while we were asleep or while we were 7 remains unclear.
This feeling of timelessness is not accidental. The imagination doesn’t really age, and anything made truly and purely by heading back into the imagination has that sense of permanence. These poems have that purity to them. As soon as we read them we feel like they are ours too.
To contact the author, please email him at email@example.com
His book The Enthusiast is for sale in the Snail Press Shop.