Congratulations to poet Justin Marks, whose beautiful new book, The Comedown, came out last month with my small press, Publishing Genius. Read some sample poems from the book at the PGP website. They’re presented in a unique and delightful way; it’s fun to scroll through them, but it’s even better to read them.
Justin Marks writes with a very sensitive eye and reflective ear for language. He finds and presents the connections between emotions and how they can be expressed. Another poet recently said of his writing, “He’s one of those poets for me that sometimes IS the voice in my head.”
Ilya Kaminsky says of the book, “Because Justin Marks is willing to be vulnerable, he is able to question what poetry can do—what language itself can do—to depict the drama of the human mind.”
That’s another hallmark of a Marks poem: he is stunningly honest. Working on this book with him, I was struck by how clearly and fearlessly he writes about experiences and anxieties that are common to everyone, or at least those of us in America. I didn’t know this at first, but Justin and I both grew up in Central New York, and it was familiar to read the book with that geographical location in the back of my mind. When I found out we were neighbors, a lot clicked into place, even though “place” isn’t forefronted in the book.
Su Hwang says, “Part confession, part tirade, part commentary, Justin Marks’ third poetry collection, The Comedown, is a riveting, taut exploration into the toxic matrix of masculinity, capitalism, illness, the doldrums of perceived mediocrity, and the travails of the restless, seeking mind.”
Hwang’s review pulls from the book something that is certainly an important point of view for the modern American conversation. I am glad someone as fluent and trustworthy as Justin Marks has taken it on.