Review: At the End of Time

Richard Krech
Poetry: The Incomplete Works, Vol II.
194 pages
5” x 8” perfect-bound trade paperback
(Also available in hand-bound, signed hardcover edition)
ISBN 978–1–934513–27–9
First Edition
Sunnyoutside
Buffalo, New York, USA
Available HERE
$20.00
Review originally published on 1/22/14


Jumping in mid-collection, I wondered if I’ve missed out on something vital of Krech’s, if there was some acclimation I needed to see his work properly. Perhaps I’m seeking chronology and perspective where there needn’t be any, and where, in particular, Krech would be happy to find none. His work, as globe-trotting as any I’ve ever read, is influenced heavily by a Buddhist mindset. This demands a remove from most things — from perspective, from needs, from time. As in the best poetry, to Krech, centuries can mean little, or plenty. In “Nishat Bagh Revisited”:

[ … ] The location where the Moghuls sat
under the trees
beside the channeled water
which spills into Dal Lake
still exists. [ … ]
[ … ] The place where the Moghuls sat
under the trees eating fruit
watching the rushing water in its channel
as it spills into Dal Lake
no longer exists. [ … ]
[ … ] Time will tell which is correct.

Many of these poems are more grounded in the present. Krech seems compelled to respond to the ills of today, and to suggest a correction not so much with a stern finger but with a word or two. Krech, in one poem, boils down the conflicts of today very succinctly; governments close off access to information, and the people find a way to spread it. Wars are less about bullets now than they are about seeing said bullets.

[ … ] Barefoot monks
and youth with cell phone cameras
fight well-fed men
with automatic weapons.
Truth has a way
of finding the light.
(from “Garuda, or Message from Burma.”)

What these trends coalesce into is a book of poetry that takes life at a comfortable remove, even when confronting violence. It’s life from the eyes of a person perhaps a little up the cycle of Samsara from we. That’s most likely something the world could use a little more of — enlightenment.