Cathedral and Highrise
Reviewed by: Ed Bennett
David Horowitz’ book, Cathedral and Highrise, is a large book filled to the last empty space with poetry. There are multiple poems on the page, some a mere two lines long that contain the kernel of his thought. The poems themselves are difficult to categorize; in itself, this is not a problem, and reflects the eclecticism of thought in the poet’s mind. The light treatment of even the heaviest topics may cause some readers to re-read the poems, as surprised at their conclusions as a miner panning for gold when he finds his first nugget.
In his poem, “Teacher” is a primer on mentoring students:
“He urges learn yet evolve your voice. Best mentors
The mentor shares, not locks away, his wisdom.
The stanzas have the feeling of graffiti yet the idea of the ideal teacher as a mentor is repeatedly driven in each couplet.
Horowitz plays with words in rather interesting ways, primarily by eliding articles and enjambment. This usually slows the reader’s progress enough to allow him to slip in a couplet that goes to the heart of the poem’s theme. In “Limestone Saints”, he jumps from first to second verse paragraph:
“And still a smiling thief or liar
Can mimic virtue. Limestone kings
But where is God? In stained glass windows?
The language is very accessible with slang words like “swig” strewn throughout the book. This clarifies his theme despite the paleness of his imagery. The poems are direct and work well with the vocabulary choices he makes.
Cathedral and Highrise is an interesting book of poems with and off-kilter way of expressing those difficult topics buried within us.