This has been a busy few weeks for Matthew Henriksen's Ordinary Sun. After making it to the final rounds of the Goodreads Choice Awards, it has also been reviewed in some great places like The Quarterly Conversation and The Aviary.
In the QC, Ellen Welcker takes us back to (this) world of Ordinary Sun, describing it as "like listening to confession in a parallel universe, a world like the aforementioned, with all the guts displayed on the outside, and the underworld on top." She argues that
What makes this book feel so loaded is Henriksen’s investment in the act of existing in the poems, in imbuing words with symbolic and relational power, in not providing answers.
and that ultimately, this is "a book for the living."
Amid an issue studded with gorgeous visuals, the review of Ordinary Sun in The Aviary explores the notions of language within the book, "a musicality of word relations that eschews simple wordplay," and notes that "[t]here is a type of beautiful frustration with not being able to reconcile the ordinary and the metaphysical in this world." The review is thoughtful and thorough, arriving at the idea that
What sets Henriksen’s work far apart, though, is the pure control of craft and language by which he changes what is being looked at, what is being read. These poems are well-wrought but not over-wrought, beautiful but human, accessible but refusing. The project here is to make the ordinary and the concrete something more “angelic” or infinite, but if the reader squints hard enough, he or she might see that even the poet himself cannot escape the beauty of bringing down to earth such things as heady and abstract as love and loss.
The diverse offering of these two reviews alone pays tribute to the rich possibility and depth of reading that Ordinary Sun can offer.