With a raw and down-to-earth narration style reminiscent of English and American folk music, author Philip Dodd translates commonly encountered emotions and experiences of humanity into nimbly observant, environmentally urgent, and thoughtfully melancholy poems compiled in the book Last Flocks of the Geese.
Dodd’s poetry is straightforward (sometimes to an unembellished, and usually simple level), offering accessible narratives perfect for a quiet read over a solitary coffee or tea and restless evenings tucked inside as rain or thunder persist outside. For those who seek the lyrically complex with vocabulary and diction liable to make even a thesaurus swoon, Last Flocks of the Geese may not be for you upon immediate consideration. However, despite Dodd’s simpler tone that often verges on a phone-conversation type of casual, his writing is able to convey richly visual ideas while evoking seemingly tangible experiences through the perhaps plain yet ultimately redolent wording.
These reflections can be seen as responses to the literal discussed (whether that be life events, the news, or the mundane daily goings-on) or sifted through to identify the figurative and abstract (love, loss, hope, apathy, acceptance, purpose etc). Regardless of interpretation, all seem to share a theme of humanity and the emotions, experiences, and qualities (good, bad, and neutral) therein.
Many of these poems take a traditional rhyming format. While this can sometimes feel forced or goofy, sacrificing an attempted seriousness for a nursery-rhyme feel, Dodd is mainly able to counter these aspects with worldly narratives and thought-provoking observations. At first, the rhyming can feel somewhat uninspired in its repetitive nature. Yet, as one continues to read, the book’s atmosphere shifts to a more immersive one, in which the reoccuring syntax smoothly weaves each individual poem together. Almost riddle-like, Dodd prompts readers to unfurl and ponder each poem in phases. This makes it a good book to read in spurts, rather than all in one go.
Simply stated, the beauty of poetry as an art form is that there is technically no wrong way to write it. Dodd’s writing shows this in Last Flocks of the Geese as, while it may not appeal to all, the book has a distinct style and voice that will likely appeal to many. From the more universal, expansive topics brought up such as environmental and political issues and strife, to the more personal and intimate discussions of everyday life, Dodd depicts numerous narratives and perspectives in a way that can feel both warmly encompassing and widely multifaceted. With over 100 poems in this compilation, there is a little something for everyone and an ability to comfort, teach, resonate, or engross at periodic intervals and stages of life no matter one’s age, origin, or mindset.