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Watching Anthony Roberts orate his poetry to the National Hellenic Museum resident scholar Dr. Katherine Kelaidis was inspiring (see the video I'm talking about here). His casual delivery is juxtaposed by a quiet intensity in his eyes and the searing choice of words in his contemporary style of poetry. One can only imagine where Anthony’s stoic demeanor comes from. Still, you need no longer an imagination: the poet has clearly laid it all out on the table (or inside the barrel,on Blue Jade Press in February of this year in this case) for us to consume and explore the intricacies of his experience and spirit through his verse.

Anthony's sophomore release, The Clearing Barrel, was published in February 2021 on Blue Jade Press. It is a reflection of history, war, and upbringing. It is also an exploration of his burdens - the Catholic cross. The rucksack. The rifle. The responsibility of raising a family in a seemingly shattered society.

His wording draws strong visuals, never relying on one particular trick to bring hallucinations to the reader’s mind. But at 143 pages and 68 poems, a wide variety of topics are explored here. Strewn about the book are poems where Anthony pulls apart the vast layers of his religious upbringing, taking the reader through his most painful trials of faith and coming to grips with a personal dogma as a person who has seen the worst God has to offer. The title poem uses a military procedure for clearing a handgun as a playground for examining the mindset of a soldier returning home from a war zone. It is a brilliant metaphor that Regardless of the topic, the author's work captivates me every time I read it.

This is a must-have for anyone into contemporary poetry - The Clearing Barrel is one of the best poetry books of 2021. The author’s work, regardless of the topic, stands on its own two feet. This highly skilled poet deserves more attention from the poetry community as a whole - not just the veteran poetry community. Buy his book here!

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