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Night Street Repairs

by A.F. Moritz

In his 16th poetry collection, A.F. Moritz shows how master wordsmiths ply their trade. The poems in Night Street Repairs stand firm as pillars of accessible poetry rooted in the qualified skill of a veteran poet.

Night Street Repairs offers a remedy to self-destruction. We have a beautiful planet, Moritz is telling us, but we must hold close the sacred and act, not just react. In “Dedication,” he writes, “there never was/any time waiting to be worthy.” And in “The Erotic Civilization,” Moritz posits that our overly erotic age “has the shuttered umbrella-folding sad/end-of-season feel that any religion will exude/as it survives stubbornly into the new age.”

As well as painting pictures, the poems castigate our often high-and-mighty attitudes. An entire continent, profiled in “North American Song,” knows best that “the difference between mild and wild is just the inversion of a letter.” Not shy to mix humour with serious indictments, Moritz allows his work to be embraced for its thoughtful language and emotional floods. This is poetry for people, not for academics.

As masterful as many of these poems are, the length of several of them causes the eye to occasionally wander from the page. Blame the modern shortened attention span, but the best poems in the collection are short and intense. An exception is the exquisite ode “To the Moon,” where self-destruction is spotlighted as the moon hovers, “ignored above grey slush churned with waste and/splutter of old neon.”

Moritz has such deft control of tone and language that it is difficult to pinpoint any structural faults. The depth of Night Street Repairs can be credited to the poet’s experienced hand and his literary range: Shelley, Wordsworth, and Don DeLillo are all cited, proving how a master learns from those who precede him.