Heart of the Broken World
by Jeff Weddle
Review by Julie Carpenter
Jeff Weddle writes poetry that captures the terrible dilemma of being human, the paradoxical notion that goodness and beauty may be best appreciated by those who have find themselves on the outside looking in. In all of his poetry, we find decency swallowed by corruption, and then still leaving a shadow of itself, an infection of left over hope.
The title of this chap book is terribly apt for this collection (and most of Weddle’s poetry). . Every poem in the collection is an attempt to shake off the rubbish of decay to find some moment, some nugget of hope or beauty. Weddle acknowledges both the overwhelming bitterness of life and the fact that some elemental good is left after the fires of anger, hopelessness, meanness and strife have consumed innocence.
In almost every poem, the broken and the beautiful are side by side as in this line in the poem “It Will be Later Still” describing an aging man,
“Bald head shining like a beacon to decay”
Decomposition and light meld together. The bitterness of aging is the lens with which one can see the beauty of youth. In poems like “It’s True” the past is a lost country…but not quite lost…because it still exists in the memory. Jeff’s poetry dances on the edge of despair, but never goes over the edge. It is poetry for our times.