Title: Ten Thousand Things
By: Jeremy Toombs
Publisher: Burning Eye Books
Numberous reviews of Jeremy Toombs’ poetry have noted its similarities with the Beat poets and writers of the 1960s (this is also something Toombs acknowledges himself in the poem ‘Kerouac’). Yet a reading of ‘Ten Thousand Things’ reveals just as much common ground with traditional and romantic poetry. Toombs observes nature as well as human psychology. Although all of his poems are held together with rhythm (like the beats), they also take on many different forms and styles. The poems also carry an intense sense of place, inspired by Toombs’ own experiences whilst travelling.
My favourite poem of the collection is ‘Imagination’. It is the most vivid and urgent of the collection, and embraces the full range of Toombs’ topics and poetic devices. Maddness, nature, the sea and (of course) flights of imagination are all covered in this single poem. The entire poem clicks together to form one long sentence from a series of seperate lines. There is a definate beat- this must be one of the poems that encourages comparision between Toombs and the Beat poets.
Throughout the collection Toombs quotes many religious and poetic sources; presumably collected on his travels…and also the wisdom of Yoda (in fact there is an entire poem dedicated to Star Wars references (‘On Trying’).
A few of the poems are aided by erratic and sketchy illustrations. In places these help with the poems and their imaginative flow; but in other places the images only serve to impede the imapact of the words.
Overall ‘Ten Thousand Things’ is a varied read; but it has enough positive points to take a look at. It frequently provides a new or at least eccentric perception of the world.