excited to share this brilliant, thoughtfully literate analysis of ALL STORMS
PASS 2 by author/poet/screenwriter William Drew Weinbrenner:
Inspiring! In the amorphous space between poetry, self-help, aphorism, personal development and mantra lies Luke Benoit’s new masterpiece: ALL STORMS PASS, THE ANTI-MEDITATIONS 2 [Rain and Fire].
Because more than one thing is going on in this work, ALL STORMS PASS cannot be relegated to the Personal Development shelf of Oprah’s Book Club. It is a brutally personal and specific literary work that documents the battles our collective egos fight daily.
Is it poetry? A life-coaching workbook? Affirmations for those in tough times? A memoir proudly cataloguing hard-won wisdom? The artist’s numerous motives rise from his experience as an educator, counselor, and coach. The reader can feel the visceral practicality of truisms like:
If you keep
ALL STORMS PASS is not new age, feel-good, escapism. The book is relentlessly pragmatic and unpretentious, boiling down the inner voices of a wide array of personal narratives that prompt the reader to recognize themselves in each profile.
Most personal development books originate from a philosophy or belief system. Without fail, the first step in enlightenment is an obligatory consensus on those values. The premise being that if we can’t agree on what enlightened detachment is, the reader has little hope of finding their way to it on their own from wherever they are.
ALL STORMS PASS takes the markedly different approach: you do NOT need to be a different person, in different circumstances, with a clear vision of nirvana. It gives you permission to be exactly the hot mess you are, owning the circumstances in which you find yourself, and saying right here, right now, just as I am and you are, some semblance of inner peace in available to us - if we’d just have the self-esteem to take it. The meditations do not aspire to perfectionism, and instead embrace what’s real and actual in each scenario.
Unlike the work of artist Barbara Kruger, whose charged slogans are steeped with ironic social commentary in the form of 20th century marketing campaigns, Benoit’s words externalize and objectify the most intimate and corrosive declarations we say to OURSELVES, and then respond - with pragmatic love and humor.
Text layout, in an E.E. Cummings freeform typography, requires the reader to digest each word or phrase in sequence. The text deliberately slows down the desperate eye, and the manic mind, to demand consideration of each idea. Benoit bravely holds up these confessions until the reader sees their own motives, impulses, self-indulgence, mania, self-sabotage and sublimation in self-context.
The reader cannot be ambivalent about the profiles. Immediately, the ear assesses the self in relation to each scenario, triggering judgement, nostalgia, regret, sympathy, titillation, and a detached reflection on all we’ve survived.
In the end ALL STORMS PASS is for anyone who ever needed to manifest the inner voice crazy-making in their head. It seems infinitely easier to be objective when it is fixed on the printed page, and captured tangibly in the hand. In some mystic and strange way, ALL STORMS PASS raises our stream of consciousness to the level of art. Wonderful.
About this Reviewer:
William Drew Weinbrenner was named "One of Florida’s most promising contemporary writers" by Orange Slice Journal. His book, East of Pouring: Collected Poems 1980-2009 won the Florida Publishers Association 2009 President’s Book Award for Poetry.