*ARC Review

A DEEP AND GORGEOUS THIRST
Hosho McCreesh. Artistically Declined Press, $16 paperback (368p) ISBN: 9781467579131

In his full-length work of narrative poems about drinking and all that surrounds it, McCreesh sets out to pull hard on the reader’s empathy and nostalgia, and, by and large, he succeeds. Presented through a decidedly male gaze, these poems are easily relatable to anyone who has ever had a drinking buddy, or anyone who has ever drowned the pain of a broken heart with a case of PBR, or anyone who has ever experimented with alcohol, fought with others or themselves while drunk, or told stories, mourned lost friends, or fell in love—or out of it—with a drink in their hand. Throughout, the narrators are naturalistic and kind-voiced, and the book is ordered chronologically, albeit loosely, beginning with first time drinkers dipping, unwittingly, into their mother’s homemade vinegar until they pass out. Months later, they learn of their blunder through an older brother: “‘Dear god man,’ you say,/’why the hell/ didn’t you/ stop us?’//And your brother says, ‘You looked like you/knew what you were/doing.’”And soon the boys grow up and their interests shift to girls who soon dump them and so they buddy up, booze up, and escape to places like the desert where “there/are no girls/to be found/out here,” and where they can get a moment’s reprieve from “the dull and/incessant/ doom” of their existences. McCreesh returns often to these drinking buddy bromances where jaded boys fall into bottles and then each other, commiserating, laughing, and sometimes raising hell: “And when the other bouncers/finally found the fray, when they/maced the lot of you, and/pulled out knives of their own,/you swear you could hear/angels singing, and you once again/knew you’d live.” Despite its overt love of all things alcohol, what the book truly celebrates is human bonds and shared experiences where “your eyes start/watering as you/drown on a/laugh.” And perhaps this is McCreesh’s greatest accomplishment with this work, that instead of taking the low road and merely sensationalizing the act of drinking, he deftly draws the focus to the idea that we’re here and it’s now and we’re all in this together. Along with a sense of responsibility, it also gives the book a great and surprising heart. (Late summer, 2013)

Purchase HERE.

Reviewer bio: Mel Bosworth is the author of the novel FREIGHT. Visit his website at melbosworth.com 
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