In June, the American poet Rick Belden contacted me because he had found my site while looking for commentaries on The Last Samurai. He told me he liked what he saw and that he wanted to send me a complimentary copy of his first volume of published poetry, "Iron Man Family Outing". I brought the book with me to the Norwegian Northlands and read it in a cabin sans electricity and water while overlooking the mighty ocean below me and the strong mountains above me.
I realized early on that I felt limited in my understanding by my lack of experience reading poetry. It felt as if there was more to be found beyond the evocative words of Belden's, more than I was present to. This added water to my bubbling inner creek of realization that I must immerse myself in dream symbols and subconscious images in this important time of transition in my life.
The book lays out a journey from boyhood to manhood – or perhaps more accurately from bondage to freedom – taking stock of important events, dreams and relationships that made Rick's journey uniquely his. And he binds it all together through the remembrance of his childhood relationship with the Iron Man character. It takes a no holds barred approach, exposing all of the hurt and pain and juice that arose for the author along the way. I had communicated with Rick quite a lot before I got the book – he's a great and generous man – and so I felt a mysterious resonance with the book as I received it. Just looking at the cover art makes my belly heat up, as if there's something here that I understand, but can't quite put words to. The artwork throughout is excellent.
I opened the book again today and realized I could penetrate the poetry more deeply this time – that all the nature work and dream work I've been doing the past few weeks has paid off. I have therefore decided not to pass any sort of final verdict on the book yet. I will keep going deeper with it. Just like dream symbols and archetypes, Rick Belden's poetry asks to be felt through and communicated with. So I will keep doing that for a little while longer before I give you my full review.
Here's a quick poem I relate to, printed with Rick's permission:
I'm trying to beat the truth out of myself
beating myself senseless
visualizing world peace
while driving like a maniac
Read more about Rick Belden's work while you wait for my final word on this unique collection of poems.