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Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite
In Out of Context, poet Thom Kudla offers a series of sardonic, heartbreaking and often inexplicably poignant observations on the futility and joy of being fundamentally human. The human condition has existed for as long as there have been poets to muse upon it, and the collections of verse produced in pursuit of clarity are as unique as fingerprints. Kudla’s work is no exception, and yet it is exceptional.
There is a ‘gloves off’ confrontational quality to Thom Kudla’s work in Out of Context which renders the poems both compelling and timeless. We cannot stop reading because we are aware that Kudla has painted a metaphysical target on his back and we cannot wait for his hubris to catch up with him - all the while knowing that we ourselves lack the courage to ask the questions he has asked with anything even vaguely resembling his courage and compassion. We are witnesses to a human train wreck, and must continue looking even as we come to the unsettling conclusion that we are passengers on the same train - such is the power of Kudla’s vision. In “For Good,” Kudla declares: “Let it be known/as trees greet the sky/with welcoming arms/that I am finally/done with/being so Goddamn human.”
Thomas Kudla’s Out of Context is a lush garden of whys and hows, tailor made for disillusioned optimists incapable of curing their addiction to hope. To read this masterful collection is to become reacquainted with the vast oxymoron that is humanity. With Kudla, all things are possible, improbable though they might be.