The Landscape of a Southern Son

A Word About The Draw of Broken Eyes & Whirling Metaphysics from David R. Altman

– The full text of this foreword is found in The Draw of Broken Eyes & Whirling Metaphysics (Reissue Date: 2017)

Cliff writes in “The Soma of a Fevered Condition” “…night needs no introduction as I adore everything after midnight.”

It is this passion—unpredictable, rich, contagious– that will draw you into the tender poems in the Draw of Broken Eyes, poems that not only reflect his childhood and young adult years—but the lessons they have taught him.

You will experience the loss of love “you are the catalyst and the razor, the haunting I can’t remember”, the pain of regret–“a road has stolen her closeness to me, the door is flung open with nothing outside but a humid afternoon” and the longing for redemption, where Brooks writes “reminding a sinner home is home, even alone.”

Like Don Henley’s Desperado, Cliff’s life has been filled with many opportunities, though often times it seems he has only wanted those things he could not have.

So, did this whirling-dervish of a Renaissance man finally find his redemption? You’ll have to decide for yourself—but the journey in The Draw of Broken Eyes is not to be missed.

And then there is Whirling Metaphysics, the second book in this two-part collection.

In what Cliff says is a sort of re-creation of his days working with the Department of Juvenile Justice in rural northwest Georgia, these poems will sting you with their honesty and shock you with their insight.

David R. Altman is the Books & Writers Editor of the Pickens County (Ga.) Progress. He was nominated for Georgia Author of the Year in 2015 for his poetry chapbook “Death in the Foyer”, and has written for several publications including the Athens Banner-Herald, the Gwinnett Daily Post and Georgia Outdoor News. He is also the editor of georgiabigsticks.com—a blog about tournament bass fishing.

A Word About Athena Departs from James H. Duncan

– The full text of this foreword is found in Athena Departs:  The Gospel of A Man Apart (Release Date: 2017)

If there’s one thing I can always count on, it’s that Clifford Brooks carries the fire. There’s a manic passion in his work, and from what I’ve seen of him over the years, you’ll find the same in his life, his every day a pool of gasoline waiting for the match, and it’s hard not to feel that flame catch on and spread into my own life whenever I read his poetry or speak or write with him. His intensity for the work that goes into writing and promoting the work of others, and his dogged determination for poetic perfection even while knowing perfection is unobtainable is inspiring for those of us who know his work well, and I hope you’ll take the time to read this book and enter that ring of fire.

With Athena Departs, we have another collection born of that endless struggle, where Brooks puts into words what life has put into him—the roadblocks and majesties, the miracles and knock-out punches, all elevated to a plane where his poems seem to sing, each a choir preaching idealism and fire with a cadence that’s playful yet rich with purpose, as in his poem “In Athens the Affair is Elysium”:

The incendiary acceptance of obsession
makes us unconscious of everything
except carnal screams.
We are not dreams.
We are not akin to sin.

His wordplay dances on the page and imbues the reality of love and passion with an arcane decadence, an obsession realized with any shame. Poem after poem Brooks champions this kind of passion, this kind of life, and as you progress through the collection you realize Clifford Brooks is building a mythology.

James H Duncan is the founding editor of Hobo Camp Review, a former editor with Writer’s Digest, and is the author of such poetry collections as Dead City Jazz, Berlin, and Dealing With the Devil in the Middle of the Road, as well as two short story collections, his most recent being What Lies In Wait.