The Shadow Sonnets and Other Poems by T.S. Kerrigan

T.S. Kerrigan’s The Shadow Sonnets and Other Poems is deceptively light to hold in the hand. Indeed, this slim, limited edition chapbook contains just nine poems—the four sonnets alluded to in the title, and a mixed bag of other pieces, each crafted with his trademark metrical ease.

Nevertheless the book is a full and satisfying read, and it touches on some of the great subjects of humanity, including love, death and the indomitability of human nature.

There is a Dantean echo to a couple of the poems. The pantoum “Deceptions”:

It all comes back, that dream of souls half dead.
My turning, all those hours, from side to side,
That silent, sad procession in my head

is followed by a quatrain on Paolo and Francesca—the two memorable lovers from the Inferno.

Mr. Kerrigan has been writing poems for many years now, so it is not surprising that in addition to having acquired the polish with which he rhymes and enjambs, he has acquired as a major theme the transience of youth and love, such as the poignant “On Looking Into a Wedding Album”:

Were we like that? they muse,
Who every passing year
Have less and less to lose.

They find they’ve spent their lives
Lamenting all that’s gone,
Neglecting what survives.

But Kerrigan’s work also swings toward hope. In “The Monaghans”:

So freighted with the years,
They rarely venture out,
How odd they both suggest
This latter love is best.

Despite the frailties of humans then, in T.S. Kerrigan’s poems, such as “Storms,” man is ultimately redeemed by his capacity to love and to persevere:

We’ll shut our eyes against the wind and rain,
and waking, we’ll arise, and build again.

The Shadow Sonnets and Other Poems is available from Scienter Press.

Anna Evans is a British citizen but permanent resident of NJ, where she is raising two daughters. She has had over 100 poems published in journals including The Formalist, The Evansville Review, Light Quarterly, Measure and many others. She has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize and was a finalist in the 2005 Howard Nemerov sonnet award. She is editor of the formal poetry e-zine The Barefoot Muse and is currently enrolled in the Bennington College MFA Program. Her first chapbook Swimming was published in March 2006 by Maverick Duck Press.

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