Chapbook Review: German Requiem
Reviewed by: Jonas Micah
Coming down the pipes this month is a book by a poet who calls himself Howling Wolf. The book is German Requiem and leaves one with the immediate impression of a wild honey-comb. Strange and a bit misshapen, but filled with an oozing goodness that sticks to your teeth long afterward. The overall style tends toward the haphazard, and is very freeform in nature. However, the content is so good that you find yourself willing to forgive the author almost anything, just for the chance to hear his innermost thoughts.
Howling Wolf draws heavily from classic literature for his inspiration, quoting such illuminaries as Jung, Kierkegaard and Nietzche. In fact, the book itself is dedicated to the memory of Martin Luther, the great church reformer of the 16th century. And as he explains in the appendix, most of the poems were inspired by significant moments in the lives of these famous men.
The book is broken down into four large poems, each of which are then subdivided into smaller sections. The poems included are “Stotternheim Forest”, “Erfurt Trout”, “Jutland Wildflowers” and “Basel Cathedral”. Plus, there’s a nice appendix tacked onto the back that describes where the poet was coming from on matters of inspiration and quotation. My personal favorite is section 2 of the fourth poem, Basel Cathedral, as it tends to draw heavily from the Havamal for it’s inspiration. And the Havamal, for those of you not in the know, is a piece of old Norse epic poetry that happens to be one of my personal favorites. Basel Cathedral describes the main character as hanging from a windswept tree for nine long days, just as Odin was described as doing in “Words of the High One”.
Howling Wolf takes us on several journeys during the course of this book. He explores everything from parental conflicts to the meaning of existence and beyond, with a strong theme running throughout of the mysterious nature of God. Overall, I found this to be a very satisfying experience in poetry. Some of it was a bit rough around the edges. It’s not your typical, rhyme-on-every-line poetry. In fact, most of it doesn’t rhyme at all. But that’s okay. Because there’s so much going on beneath the surface here that you’ll be too enthralled to notice.
This book is filled with all kinds of interesting tidbits that will keep your mind spinning. The author is definitely a deep thinker, and it shows through in spades during each and every section. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in poetry, philosophy and subjects like man’s struggle against God. Because this one will definitely make you think about all of the above.
Jonas Micah is a 27-year-old writer currently living in beautiful San Diego,
California. He's a high school drop-out, an Army wash-out, and a fool who strives
to be less foolish with each passing day.
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