I have never read a book quite like Carol D. Marsh’s forthcoming chapbook due out on Bamboo Dart Press on June 30th. The book is a knee play symphony written as four movements. The skeletal outline of the book is important. This is life in song, music in words that get me as close to hearing live music or playing music as anything I have ever read on a printed page. That is not to say that these are essays about music. These are essays in the form of music, with music making its presence known as the rhythm for the written work by Marsh.
These essays offer meditations on a couple of large arcs of history that have gone awry, but also the minor chords that we strike to bring slivers of light into the darkest of times. Titled impossibly and correctly for what it is, Marsh approaches each essay as a musical piece. The essay about her brother spans from their childhood together to his passing in verses and choruses. This essay underlines the magic trick that Marsh has taken flight with here. Bottling a life in a three and a half minute pop song? A symphonic movement? An opera? The secret to a timeless piece of music/lyrics is to keep the heart and soul of the thing alive. That often means painfully throwing off board all the decor and decorum to be sure you are present with the beating heart of it all times. I am there, with Crystal and Bill in these stories, I am hearing their music as I read. This is an astonishing book that begs to be turned over and listened to, side to side, ad infinitum.
Carol D. Marsh’s Border/Between: A Symphony in Eassays is out June 30th and available for preorder now.