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Intimations of a Realm in Jeopardy

In Intimations of a Realm in Jeopardy, Sibum reveals himself as a poet of a slow apocalypse that rattles the crockery not in extravagant thunder but in forlorn coffee shops and pizza joints, in down-at-heel apartment houses, among tough waitresses and stoical street-philosophers. With an elegiac sadness that owes as much to Blind Lemon Jefferson and Robert Johnson as to Propertius and Theocritus, Norm Sibum takes us in his magnificent new collection on a voyage into the shadows of a waning realm that we recognize finally as our own. As we follow this Apollonius with a steel guitar, we come to understand that the `realm in jeopardy’ of which Sibum has made himself the supreme singer is not only our civic order, so menaced of late, but the sovereign realm of love itself. Sibum’s great theme has always been the relations between men and women in and out of love, overshadowed by the forces of history. In poem after poem of this magnificent collection he lifts this motif to unexpected and exhilarating levels of funky insight, wry humor and the sheerest lyrical intensity.

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