“You are the earth the dog displaced. You are the neat little pile.
I’m sorry whatever came back to haunt me ended up a silly ghost.”
-from “How Many Years”
On the vast spectrum of contemporary poetry, Tyler Gobble’s More Wreck More Wreck lands somewhere between experimental and uniquely charming. While Gobble’s poems bring light to the wonderful (and not so wonderful) sides of growing up in the Midwest, political issues, and love and family—among other things—they are so much more than that. Gobble’s poems are honest and powerful, as they speak to the idea of what it is like to be human in this messed-up world. They are tender, funny, and full of life, and break convention, falling from the page into your eyes. They are energetic and loud. To put it simply, Gobble’s poems emanate who he is as a person, someone that gives all of the love in the world and is not afraid to be himself.
The initial reading of More Wreck More Wreck only lead me to ask questions: How did any of these disjointed, seemingly haphazard word-vomit poems relate to one another? Where is the art? What is the appeal? I was uncomfortable and unable to see past the unclear and chaotic mess that is More Wreck More Wreck. Gobble’s voice was beyond me and I couldn’t seem to grasp on to anything. If I’m being honest, my lack of understanding was most likely due to the fact that I was not accustomed to unique, contemporary poetry with such a distinct voice. I had been stuck in my poetry box and refused to reach outside of my comfort zone.
However, as I read and re-read—I also had the privilege of hearing Gobble read at In Print ’15—it was almost as if a dusty switch in the back of my brain had been flipped. Suddenly the vibrancy of More Wreck More Wreck jumped out at me from all directions, like stealthy ninjas or a swarm of bees. What was once unclear became prophetic and beautiful.
More Wreck More Wreck feels like the rush of adrenaline when you’re on the losing team of tug-of-war, exhilarating, yet overwhelming. It feels like not being able to stop your car when the roads are too icy, but safely find your rest before sliding into a busy intersection, terrified and relieved. It feels like coming home after a year away to your mother’s home-cooked meal, welcoming and loving.
This is how I imagine most readers would come experience this collection: they brew a fresh cup of coffee—or tea if you’re “that guy”—pick up the book, run their fingers along the smooth cover as they dissect the image plastered on the front—it’s an old photograph that was exposed to a flame—and turn to the first page, hearing the spine crack ever so lightly, to find that the first poem, “The Big Permission,” is addressed to elementary students, and they may feel uncomfortable or unsure, but as they read through the poems, they find that they too understand the chaos that is More Wreck More Wreck.
And as Gobble phrases so elegantly in his poem “Rooster in a Flower Bed,” “What I’m saying is I will put my rooster/ in your flower bed if that is what you’re into, baby.” And it’s something we should all be into if that rooster is one of a Gobble’s poems and that flower bed is our minds.