Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged by Russell Thorburn. (Marick Press, 2006) 99 pp. $14.95 (paper)You can imagine the poetry in Russ Thorburn’s, Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged, if you can fathom poems set to attack or expose the myriad complications of the generation gap. “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” While that’s from the Old Testament Chapter 31 in the book of Jeremiah, the sentiment is expressive of these poems from Thorburn.
I can’t help but think back to my study of theology, listening to one of my instructors discuss the correlation between sin and the generation gap. Those words must have stuck, because here, much later, I’m thinking back to the correlation of sin and generational tension when reading these poems.
These poems feed you with a large dose of yearning for innocence mixed with a liberal dash of courage. Note well Thorburn’s hefty presentations of cultured intellect, mixed with existential honesty. A heaping spoonful of this doesn’t make any sugar sweeter, but equally as poignant they beg you to peel the onion one layer at a time.
Thorburn wants readers to travel back to a time when all things were innocent and good; but the reality is that they never were. Our memories trick us. But those tricks can serve us too, for they are the necessary deceptions that help us stay with the journey in the midst of disappointments.
By the third poem in this collection, innocence is notably shattered when in “Renoir’s Nude and The Gentle Thief,” Thorburn and a friend are robbed of a Renoir print they bought at the downtown Detroit art museum.… read more...