|The Redneck Review of Literature
"The language of gender shapes this new volume of poetry by Ken McCullough, recording a series of journeys, literal as well as metaphorical, into western wilderness to summon the spirit of place and experience union with it; in doing so, to heal estrangements in his life as seeker, lover, father, son.
The kind of journey the poet makes is seen by Ed Folsom, writing in the Introduction, as ‘the most essentially American quest…peeling off…layers of this paved-over land…a descent through the palimpsestic layers of American history in order to touch, if only briefly, the savage mystery that this culture has been so intent on forgetting, on denying."’…
Thoreau only wrote of making an offering to the ancient powers he sensed all around him on Mt. Katahdin, but McCullough enters his places prepared to do just that….All the past experiences which have sent McCullough into the mountains are embedded in fragments of memory or longing or hallucination. The poetry is tough climbs, of balancing on narrow ridges while one’s eye sucks in vistas. Of the smell of mountain meadows, of sleeping on rock, and the exertion and exhilarating mind pull of striding across the backbone of the continent….The prose rhythms and man-style roughness convey very well the gritty, self-contained work of the solitary hiker and those moments when a sudden sliding rock or a cracking twig prickle the neck hairs with cold awareness of having trod a domain more ancient and arcane even than rings of stone."
|Western American Literature
Reviewed by Suzanne Shane
“…the McCullough book is a kind of ancient, spiritual keening, the craft merely an extension of a ravenous, unsentimental eye in the unfolding experience of the self shedding its skins in discharges of memory, association, lament and prayer….McCullough’s poetry thrusts the reader headlong into a journey in which both poet and reader are changed—by language transcending its craft and becoming vision."