Review by Courtney LeBlanc
While most reviews focus on the poems within a collection – and trust me, the poems in Dustin Brookshire’s new chapbook Love Most of You Too are excellent – the dedication of this collection deserves a mention. Brookshire begins by thanking the teachers who encouraged him and believed in his writing, and calls out – by name – the teacher who didn’t, who went so far as to tell him to stop writing poems.
The tension we see in the dedication is carried throughout the book; these poems don’t ease the reader in with soft words or a gentle hand, instead they slap the reader, bringing full attention to the words that punch each page. “This poem wants to cause a ruckus /… / this poem loves to be dirty and true–” We learn of the heartbreak of coming out when your family doesn’t support you, but when your grandmother certainly would have, especially because of your mutual love for country line-dancing. We feel the pain of not being accepted or acknowledged.
But Brookshire doesn’t linger on the painful bruises, instead takes the reader on a journey to finding acceptance and power within oneself, and strength in “the kind of cleaning that begins / with spitting, yelling, and cursing”. We see a person coming into his own, figuring out what he wants: “I want a man / who’ll know monogamy isn’t a type of wood”.
This chapbook showcases a voice reclaiming words meant to hurt, detailing the traits wanted in a lover, and reminding the reader “not to accept what’s in front of you / at face value.” A wonderful collection that takes turns being funny, poignant, painful, and uplifting.
Love Most of You Too by Dustin Brookshire
Harbor Editions, 2021
Dustin Brookshire on social media:
Courtney LeBlanc on social media: