Review of The Sunshine Mine Disaster
Brendan Galvin, Choice, June 1996.

©1996 Choice Magazine

Brock combines original poetry with various historical documents to depict events, real and imagined, surrounding the 1972 Idaho silver mine explosion, which killed 91 men.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.

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Last Modified 23 November 1998