The poet threads the essence of the state throughout his poems. In his contemplation of rain, rivers, and other forms of water, his romanticization of the pastoral in America’s heartland, and his deep reverence for agriculture, that hypnotic haze of “mercurial Minnesota” wafts throughout. Besides that striking sense place, Hyde also succeeds in creating a consistent voice throughout, though it’s characterized by a reliance on alliteration that may put some readers off, and a tendency at times to prioritize the musicality of his words over their meanings, particularly in his more songlike poems.
Despite the love of the land of lakes, reducing Unbathed Brains to one genre or theme would be a disservice to the collection’s breadth and wit. Poems like “Grand Canyon Vacancy” wax philosophical on the perception of the divine within emptiness: “I squint through an abyss // And glimpse the Proprietor,” while “Love Letter” is a diatribe on the commodification of romance and poetry itself. With such variance in subject matter, Hyde has included something for everyone, and readers willing to dance in the raindrops of his collection will find beauty and power in the music of his storm.
Takeaway: Alliterative swirl of poems in a variety of forms exploring self, home, and the cosmos.
Comparable Titles: Joshua Mehigan, Philip Gross.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B+