Poet Jeremy Long channels the spirit of Long Island sound and the depths of the human soul in the poetry collection, Fair Now Later Rain. As the title suggests, Fair Now Later Rain is a weather report for the soul. It’s calm now, but there are always dark clouds on the horizon. But Long also suggests that once the storm passes, there is sunshine and healing, the hope of reuniting.
Some of the poems in this book sound like standup comedian Steven Wright's dry observations. "Oak," for example is a simple one liner, loaded with context about choice, destiny, and forces beyond our control.
"An acorn that falls is halfway to completing its task."
Long doesn't shy away from rhyme — or ending a poem with a strong couplet. Pieces like "Fallen Leaf" sound like a gangster rapper more obsessed with existential angst than material possessions or sexual conquests. "Five More Miles" could pass for Woody Guthrie lyrics, a weathered cowboy pining for a lost love. Religious themes and images of autumn permeate this collection. Long dives deep in longer pieces like "Shoestring Blues," "Gold," and "Crumble, I'm a Mountain," where he explores themes of death, decay, and rebirth. Loss is a recurrent theme; the spark of life stolen by death. Sorrow, grief and heartache march through the pages of Fair Now Later Rain dutiful soldiers. "This is the Tenth" — about the death of a longtime love — sums up many of the collection's themes of sorrow and memory, the embers that remain when love is extinguished. Every loss contains a seed of hope, Long suggests in "Common Lilies."
"Hope is a flower born
of what once was there."
There's a sense of restlessness in Fair Now Later Rain, a disquieted soul haunting the earth in search of meaning. Long suggests that perhaps love is what infuses the mundane moments of life with meaning. He's not wrong.
IR Verdict: Jeremy Long’s elegant verse captures the many phases of grief and the hope of renewal in Fair Now Later Rain, a moving collection of poems about life after death.
Fair Now Later Rain gathers poems of sorrow, hope, and opportunity, reflecting struggles with life and perspective to offer succinct free verse insights that are especially powerful metaphors for life and emotional reaction: "I could redraw the roof of my world, throw stars in the sand, but perhaps first I should start with the stones."
Jeremy Long writes with an evocative hand as he explores experiences and the emotions connected to them. One example of the vivid imagery that results from this probe is the long evolutionary poem "Crumble, I'm a Mountain": "Love was a mountain, love was the mountain of you and I. Love could have crumbled and kept together, fell and never withered, never withered its flowers and sighed."
The pathos, yearning, and connections between the natural world and emotional response are pivot points of knowledge and understanding that carry readers on a journey through lilting, lyrical life: "Spanish music calling to my window, like a long day ahead it’s not the lullaby I’ve come to know: heat pipe secrets and the wind merryling round, to and fro. Oh, Maria, please go."
Jeremy Long cultivates a unique voice that is expressive as he embraces change and its unsettling roots. As his poems move between periods of rain, showers, and the nearly-spent experience of love, readers will be thoroughly immersed in their reflections.
Readers who like vivid imagery, emotional connection, and ideas that keep them thinking will relish the observations and descriptions that make Fair Now Later Rain such a lively and unique collection: "Fog is the laziness of the rain content with running at a stroll."