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Book Review :: Morgan by Boyer Rickel

Morgan (A Lyric) nonfiction by Boyer Rickel book cover image

Guest Post by Jami Macarty

In Morgan (A Lyric), winner of the 2020 Gold Line Press Nonfiction Chapbook Competition, Boyer Rickel, a most open and ethical writer, writes out of “a sensation so precise” what it means to love—beyond shame or humiliation, in expansive and humble ways—not as “the hero,” but as “the hero’s sidekick.” Were this chapbook a musical composition, the minor scale “branching patterns of sound” referring to the relationship between men and their mothers, the luxury of who gets to age, the 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, writing and reading poetry, and listening to music—the harmonic and cacophonic backdrop of lives at the center of a love song. A love story—between one who lives openly as a gay man and one who is more secretive in his choices, one in middle age and healthy, and one in his thirties, living with the complications of cystic fibrosis. The major scale “branching” the complexities of personality (“there might be many Morgans”), relationship (“separate states of extremity”), and eroticism (“denial begets desire”); the trappings of love and illness; the primary and secondary gains of caretaking—“a trade of need for need.” This is elegiac writing that “remove[s] us (readers) from time” as love and death do, but perhaps more than centering on death, this writing exalts lover and beloved—“To touch a boundary, to feel a limit”—leaving as much love on the page as possible.

Morgan (A Lyric) by Boyer Rickel. Gold Line Press, May 2022.

Reviewer bio: Jami Macarty is the author of The Minuses (Center for Literary Publishing, 2020), winner of the 2020 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award – Poetry Arizona, and three chapbooks, including Mind of Spring (Vallum, 2017), winner of the 2017 Vallum Chapbook Award. Jami’s writing has been honored by financial support from Arizona Commission on the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, and by editors at magazines such as The Capilano Review, Concision Poetry Journal, Interim, Redivider, Vallum, and Volt, where Jami’s poems are forthcoming.

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