Cataloging the Flow: Elegy

Published by Red Dragonfly Press

Cataloging the Flow: Elegy is a final masterpiece from the late John Calvin Rezmerski. The book—made up of a single 30-page poem spanning across 3 sections—evokes the serpentine movement of the Minnesota River with which this book concerns itself. That is the power that Rezmerski showcases here, the ability to transport, to capture the history of a place and a people. Rezmerski eloquently, and with stark but honest imagery, gives us back what is now lost, now worn down, forgotten, or built over anew. However, beneath the beauty of the language there is an earnest current of questions that binds the poem together. There is an awareness that “Our works may not be solid enough/ may not live a moment longer than us.” It is this awareness that drives the poem, that drives us as readers onward like salmon searching for the glorious spawning grounds. There is a truth there that the poem doesn’t pretend to fully understand, that it inquires of us as much of itself and the author. A truth that suggests “how the universe may have been using us,/ playing us, listing us, lifting us/ downstream.” Yet, we are the great harbingers of meaning, of purpose, of love and loss and how “Peppermint was not peppermint until we tasted and named it.” Cataloging the Flow: Elegy is a breath of fresh air, a reminder as much to live and to notice the world going by, as it is to be aware that once the revelation is over we must return like salmon “where we might breed and fulfill the lives of bears.” The river is ever flowing, be it the Minnesota, be it the river of life. In either case, we must meet its end with all the vigor we can muster, no matter the greater hands at work above and behind us. I can only hope that wherever that river spits me out once it has shown me the great course of my life, and of those that came before me, that I find John Calvin Rezmerski there, waiting, asking if the journey was a good one.—Thomas Warmbrodt

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