Boise, ID: Ahsahta Press, 2016
In Phantom Hour, his third full-length collection of poetry, James Meetze continues his brutal investigation of metaphysics, following thoughts in mesmerizing lines of poetry as if doing so might indeed lead to meaning beyond musings. The goal of this particular book, though, is to understand whether the image or the memory of the image is more valuable, and to do so without being sidetracked by the foreboding sense that there may be no value at all. Or as Meetze himself puts it, "There is no quick brown fox to jump/over anything./I’ve been outfoxed./I’m waiting for something to arrive/in the phantom hour." This is a brilliantly philosophical collection of stunning long-form poems. I wish I had written it.
—JERICHO BROWN, author of The New Testament
Unflinchingly honest. Heartbreakingly sincere. In Phantom Hour, James Meetze has written the tremendous joy and grief that is living with memory’s ever-fading light: “The myth of god in the lapse of memory is released, out of love, for the truth and the desire to bring it to light.” Part meditation, part lament, Meetze grapples with the loss of his father’s memory—and the hold he has on his own. To read this book is to remember the spark that connects you to all souls past and present, and to the words you use to call out to them. Phantom Hour will make you weep for its beauty, veracity, and bravery—but most of all for its love.
—KATHRYN L. PRINGLE, author of fault tree
"Poetry is the darkest art," James Meetze writes in Phantom Hour, but the lines in this brilliant collection flash with an incandescence at once peculiar and vital. The poems brim with light — the light of Southern California and the interior light of the mind — and become a primer on how and why to sing in a world beleaguered by artifice, war, and doubt. Meetze limns the edges and undercurrents of our present-time condition for the relief of song: “I can say dark because I know / how light happens; every filament / burns toward its end like we do.” Phantom Hour is a book that returns to you, as you return to it.
—JOSEPH MASSEY, author of Illocality