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Actual Air

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I knew that the best things were hidden, and all of this was said in a private voice, a cousin to the one I used to speak to pets. Seems it all could have been pulled by any sort of “provincial novel of British life” (to paraphrase the description appended to “Middlemarch’s” title). This debut collection has received extraordinary acclaim from readers and reviewers alike and is quickly becoming a cult classic. I think Berman is quite evocative in that he places you somewhere, and things that evoke memories you have had (many of them being memories of music… others, of not quite being in the right place at the right time, or perhaps not even known what the right place is); but that’s different from being “about” something.

In the ideal world, or the world as written by a first-time novelist romanticizing their coming-of-age as if it meant anything to anyone other than them, I would have bought this at 16 and at 21 bought James Tate because of the blurb from him on the back, then cried at 29 when Tate passed. This was an absolutely wonderful and enriching read, and I implore everyone to spend some time with Berman's work. It's also a good reminder to check in on those who always seem to understand and be a support, we can't forget they need support as well. As Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Tate said, "These poems are beautiful, strange, intelligent, and funny.In December 2019, the artist Friedrich Kunath put on a performance at Drag City’s Chicago venue Soccer Club Club that featured Berman’s music.

Some of what works about "Snow" --Berman's playfulness and seeming endless supply of fresh, spot-on images/metaphors, --thankfully show up throughout the collection, keeping the reader amused, awakened, and impressed. However, overall, I’d recommend it for its strengths, and it does seem to fit certain kinds of moods and inspirations. David Berman reinvents the overlooked and seemingly ordinary details of everyday life--from the suitcase of a departing girlfriend to a baseboard electrical outlet.He died in Park Slope, I was there just a few days before, visiting friends, wandering around, soaking in the beauty of a part of America I have come to really love in my later years. In "Snow" for example, the speaker teases a younger sibling, telling him that some snow angels they find ".

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