Butterflies Break Free of Gravitas

Munisteri Provides a Welcome Relief from Hard Times and Pompous Poetry

Exuberance bursts through the pages of Joseph Munisteri’s Butterflies In Space. The poems twirl and frolic like a child gallivanting in the park on a sunny day. Munisteri doesn’t aim for the cool aloofness many poets try (and fail) to imitate. These poems will not be to everyone’s taste as the pieces can be a bit sophomoric, but the poems simply are what they are. More importantly, they are happy to be that way.

One of the main points of contention with Butterflies In Space is the layout. Munisteri bundles all of his poems referencing butterflies at the front, creating almost a plug on any interest to continue through the work. The collection would have been helped by spreading these poem throughout the text to create a running theme rather than stockpiling them all in the beginning. The butterflies could have led readers through the poems rather than gathering like “…a vortex of fear…”

Once readers break through that vortex, though, they will come across fun little nuggets like “Queer Imaginings” and Caf(fiend),” which portrays a scene sure to appreciated by parents and guardians of children alike.

And Munisteri’s poetry isn’t all play and no work. He catches readers off guard by planting reflective moments in surprising nooks throughout the text. “What I’ve been taught” for example, brings to life all those moments when humans, without any fanfare, simply sit and ponder “…reality, the universe, / What I’ve been taught.” Cooking is Munisteri’s metaphor of choice in this piece, admitting that he doesn’t always find the perfect recipe to placate the rumbling of his mind. He tries “…to salvage some flavor, / or at least, / some form of sustenance…” but like many of us he is left with “…a conflicting taste.”

A few of his poems like “The Swarm(Bad Omens) and “Not the Facts” even take on more stoic, matter of fact tones that pleasingly trip the reader up. These pieces are fascinating as they are not depressing or even sad but rather – confident. They look objectively at certain situations and present it with the air of someone who knows they have lost a battle but they have not lost their pride.

This indomitable little book may prove to be the mental respite individuals need in these trying times of quarantine and disinformation. Light and unencumbered by the rules and regulations poetic gravitas, Butterflies In Space certainly glides above it all.

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