John Ebersole reviews Tim Earley’s Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery

by Jen Tynes

The word monster used in the passage above is particularly useful. As the word has been dragged from one century to the next, different associations have attached themselves to it. But despite those various iterations there’s consensus that monster means something dreadful. When applied to Earley’s poetry this label fits. I’m also inclined to apply monstrous to Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery because if we keep in mind the word’s Latin root monstrum – meaning “divine omen, portent, sign” – this definition validates and connects us to the book’s supernatural disposition. But more than a spectral jubilee, Earley’s work is a grotesque jig, a glitch in the natural order of things. His poems also sound like the incantations of an ex-preacher suffering from (or made divine by) what one doctor called (describing Rimbaud) “toxic delirium”