Celadon by Ian Haight is a collection of poems that I suspect will walk with me for many years. Haight is masterful in his creation of scene, succinct in his word choice, varied in his voice and wise beyond expectation. Throughout I paused and reread his stanzas, out loud and with varying paces, feeling the way the language resounded. I was drawn into his poems as if tethered. A single set of four lines wrapped inside my head for an entire afternoon feeling like a familiar memory stolen away. I enjoyed the evocative way he brought the people and places of his poems to life. Haight captured the very essence of the factory laborer, the young lover, the vulgarity of an uneducated segment of society, the baseness and predispositions toward tolerance and not. The people that walk his factories and fields are resoundingly real. The factories and field are captured in relief.
These poems are thought provoking. The social commentary is astute and fine tipped, the breadth of the
societies he touches is wide. Celadon moves from the American midwest, depressed and industrial, to Korea and other Asian locals. It is an interesting confluence. My first thought was that these poems belonged in different works but as I progressed through the sections I saw how the themes recurred, how the voice grew and shifted. Haight captures the resounding ‘humanness” in all of us. The spiritual component of the work is contrasted against the brutal, and sometimes vulgar reality of life. The blending is intellectually honest and I appreciated the depth of Haight’s representation of details. Haight’s verse is sophisticated and relies more on rhythm and image than a set rhyming pattern. Ian Haight has given us something mesmerizing, if stop for a moment to step into his work be prepared to linger for days. Celadon is that good.