Reviewed by Mark Fischer
Some of it is Muscle is an exercise in strength and perseverance in the poet’s life. Kluckman carefully excises the tough parts, puts them on display in ways that, sometimes, make you confused by how beautiful the scary bits are, and, in doing so, closes old wounds with the love of family and community. The images in this collection will surprise, challenge, and titillate both brain and heart. It is apparent that the poems in this collection were chosen and placed with precision. The poet takes you on a journey from heartache to heart-heal.
I found myself re-reading certain stanzas like puzzles and being rewarded with magical webs of metaphor like tendon and sinew that capture and coalesce into images that are unique to the mind, heart and voice of Mr. Kluckman. For example in the poem The Lions of Dusk he writes “the slow blue impalas swim like neon tetras through the heat haze, windows full of fever” effectively transforming the sinister into survival.
Kluckman plays well with many traditional forms in this collection too, reminding us he is a puzzle man himself. Kluckman is well known for his devotion to the poetry community. He is an organizer of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change program, the creator of the world’s first Slam Poet Laureate program, and editor of Pedestal. He is also a two-time member of the Albuquerque National Poetry Slam Team and a recipient of the Red Mountain Press National Poetry Prize. This second book of poems by southwest poet Zackary Kluckman is worth picking up. It is a book of challenges met, made beautiful, and mended. Some of it is muscle but the whole of it is love.