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Tales From The Otherground

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Nicks’ stirring poetry collection conveys a striking commentary on the multifarious aspects of life. Nicks’ deft word and world crafting in each poem creates an absorbing experience upon which to reflect. Themes of paradox, beauty and wonder, the elusiveness and futility of life are powerfully conveyed by Nicks’ skillful use of language and evocative imagery. Rich, yet simple wordplay takes shape in numerous ways. In “A Number One Than Yesterday”, Nicks reveals how punctuation can change the way one looks and thinks about things: “do you know/the more you know,/the less you think you know?/do you know?/the more you know,/the less you think,/you know…”

Alliteration is the main vehicle in “A Day In The Days” to effectively capture the droning pattern of an emotionless, mindless and almost robotic way of life in the “wearisome work that perpetuates the proliferant/pro-lifer-ant pompous pointification/of microsoftheaded and/apple-engorged vapidity”. The breakdown of “pro-lifer-ant” is one of the many examples of Nicks’ formidable wordplay to highlight the message of his poems.

The wide range of tones in Nicks’ poems further emphasizes the diverse aspects of life. “Suburban Purpose” conveys irony and anger of the suburban ritual: i live uptown/and i hate my life; i eat my supper/and i fuck my wife”. This is contrasted greatly with the meditativeness of “Movement 101”: “is a river/more the water/than the way that water flows?” Finally, “Gorilla2 (a Noah count poem)” is an example of a thought-provoking poem that is conveyed with humor: “well, a pair of them must have heard the news/and stowed away/because everybody knows gorillas can’t swim.”

Each of the five volumes in this powerful poetry collection is introduced by a stark, but equally provocative double page pen and ink illustration. Tales from the Otherground is an evocative, bountiful harvest of wordplay, contemplations and observations on life that provides a feast for thought.

This was a really moving collection that touched on so many topics and created so many emotional responses. The wordplay that created completely different meanings with minor changes to sentences was also thought provoking. Highly perceptive and evocative.

Reviewed By:
Joseph Nicks
Star Count:
Page Count:
150 pages
Blue Jay Ink, Ojai CA
Publish Date:
October 2015
Poetry & Short Stories

Additional information

Book Author

Joseph Nicks



Star Count


Page Count

150 pages



Publication Date



Blue Jay Ink, Ojai CA


October 2015

“Tales From The Otherground”

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