Bright Soil, Dark Sun.
Some folks have told me that phrase makes them think of Mars and its lonely little Earthborn robots scurrying about and blorping at the reddish-looking topography (and presumably being toyed with by those durn elusive Martians and their wily Martian ways).
Someone shared that they thought it meant an eclipse. But like a freaky eclipse where the sky gets dark and the ground gets all psychedelic and colorful and you start seeing weird shit, like little alien Elvi (or whatever the plural of Elvis is) lurking in the bushes.
I regret to inform that neither of those are quite right.
Bright Soil, Dark Sun is the name of my current book of poetry, being released right now by Finishing Line Press.
And by right now, I really mean a week or two ago.
And by “released,” I mean it’s in the pre-order phase. No books until June! (Or July.)
So, if there are no Martians or robots or body-snatching Elvi (complete with little green pompadours) running around in these pages, what is it all about?
That’s a great question. Let’s let someone else answer it:
How does before become after? What happens to our dreams? Our disappointments? These stunning poems in Bright Soil, Dark Sun interrogate time and present moments of excavation, of tracing—and sometimes slipping into—the echoes and scars into which we wake each day, “the world and what haunts / beneath it blending in / bitter harmony.” How much of the past—our own or that of others—can we truly understand? And what is the cost of that understanding? Samuel Franklin explores these corporeal labyrinths and lets each poem reveal its own distinct thread. To quote one of his speakers, I am glad “I was there to see its glint.” –Matthew Woodman, editor of Rabid Oak
Yeah, yeah, that seems about right. But also maybe a little bit more:
Franklin writes with the delicate grace of a contemporary Orpheus. In a world not so much post-modern but post-mythology, staring down the failure of Gods, this collection follows those ordinary people caught halfway between cynicism and hope wondering what happens now. Dexterous and touching, every moment of these poems is a delight or a heartbreak or both. –Amy Kinsman, author of & and editor of Riggwelter
I’m inclined to agree.
It’s about recognizing that darkness in integral to light’s existence; showing our various mythological lies for what they are; being killed by beauty before ugliness can do you in; remembering what messy or undignified deaths have taken place under the sun; acknowledging that fortune and luck are largely happenstance; and that no matter what histories or happenings have occurred in the past, present, or future, none of it will outlive grass, trees, clouds, and the voiceless, reactive, fantastic existence of what grows out of the dirt.
And also coffee.
Want to read more?
Check out some of the poems that appear (in one form or another) in the book.
Check out the book itself on FLP’s site. Perhaps even buy a copy if any of the poems, or Matthew’s or Amy’s reviews, have appealed to some inner despair, hope, darkness, or lightness.
Just remember: No Martians.