Review of The Sunshine Mine Disaster
©1996 Choice Magazine
Brendan Galvin, Choice, June 1996.
Brock combines original poetry with various historical documents to
depict events, real and imagined, surrounding the 1972 Idaho silver
mine explosion, which killed 91 men. The result is an exciting tour
de force, which the author modestly calls “an example of life-writing”
rather than a book-length poem with epic tendencies.
Brock invents the persona of the miner Dan Taylor through which to
view the disaster, even to the extent of creating a fourth grade
report Taylor wrote—“The Rainbow Trout in Idaho.” Other
perspectives, real and imagined, unfold as the poem moves toward
its final section, a moving prayer uttered by the entombed Taylor.
Along the way the reader encounters tragedy, irony, even comedy,
in the actions of the mine owners, various authorities, victims, and
their families. Brock’s knowledge of mines and their technical
vocabulary is extensive and superbly woven into the poem.
American poetry could use a lot more of what The Sunshine Mine
Disaster has. Highest recommendation for all readership levels.