cover image Splash State

Splash State

Todd Colby. The Song Cave (SPD, dist.), $17.95 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-0-9884643-6-0

Colby (Tremble & Shine) keeps things low-key and upbeat in his most recent collection, exploding the small and everyday. He enriches life's tedium with punchy exuberance, as when he finds something worthwhile in Wednesdays%E2%80%94"It is a day that unfolds gracefully,/ a day we are usually glad to see"%E2%80%94or as he's inventing "a new math based on thrust and zest." Yet while there is a lot of play and invention in these poems, they remain grounded and never veer off into flights of fancy: "I realize there is simply no way/ to stay up in the air with a sustained flapping motion. Sucks!/ But that doesn't mean I can't try." He also touches on relationships, involving either romance or companionship or sex, with the theme mostly left simmering on the backburner throughout the collection. To his credit, Colby shies away from grandiose and overreaching conclusions, often reeling in his poems with a refrain of language or undercutting momentum with humor: "But my head is large/ and heavy. Actually, it is unwieldy./ My head is a burden, so to speak. In confined spaces it/ bumps into things, a lot." This is a fun and playful collection%E2%80%94at times a bit hammy, but it's a smart companion to a humble aesthetic. (Sept.)