pulsates like jazz and celebrates life


Top Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

Haunted by the likes of Proust, Crane, Whitman, Shihab Nye, Keats and Shakespeare
By Helene Cardona on December 24, 2015

Rustin Larson’s exquisitely crafted new collection The Philosopher Savant mixes the ordinary, real world with surreal, fantastical visions. “I arrive at a mansion / Surrounded by fallen branches/ And ice. / Inside are chairs / That resemble lions / Or laws / Or the boredom of kings.” He reminds us of the magical realism of Gabriel García Márquez and Jorge Luis Borges: “A piano, / With its keys locked under its cover, / Is some giant creature / At the bottom of the sea, /Waiting.” Like a painter saturating the colors of Earth, exalting its geography from delirious beauty to war nightmares, Larson takes the reader on a dreamlike journey, filled with flashbacks, family memories, and ghosts.

The Philosopher Savant is a moving and powerful tribute to the past, bittersweet, funny, and heartbreaking. Themes of absence, loss and abandonment are set against a backdrop of fire and ice, in a landscape whose gardens, blooming with geraniums, lilies, marigolds, lilac, roses, orchids, honeysuckle and thistle, in “gangrened earth,” are reminiscent of Richard Matheson’s novel and Vincent Ward’s movie What Dreams May Come. “These hands / Pick the fire flowers, darkness in part, / Sun in the other. Close the cabinet, / Cover my earth. Shovel on the rich heart,/ Crown star, traveler’s joy, blazing vetch.” Melancholic, unflinching and unexpected, The Philosopher Savant, haunted by the likes of Proust, Crane, Whitman, Shihab Nye, Keats and Shakespeare, upon whose shoulders Larson rests, pulsates like jazz and celebrates life.

–Hélène Cardona, Award-winning author of Dreaming My Animal Selves



I wish I could show you the source of my amusement but I

can’t it was delivered in an ice box three hundred million years

ago and it has been there since anticipating time or the mind

that will discover time on the shores of some mossy

simultaneously existing/non-existing primordial earth It sits

there silent and square totally emotionless to the tiny grubs and

centipedes that crawl over its smooth porcelain skin Totally

inert but inside it is something that will outlast the shores and

water even the sun and myriad furry life forms that will bump

and crawl their way to the edge of their individual eternities It

is there denting the sand silent unmoved not feeling hunger

because hunger isn’t yet thought of nothing there to think it not

happy because happiness is still unboiled stagnant and cold as

unreal as the possessions and human bodies that will

someday give it birth


from The Dryland Fish, 2003