When Samuel Faulk said something about haiku at the Bible study we attended, I thought, “This guy either writes or reads poetry.” I asked him about it later, and he admitted to reading AND writing poetry. We got together to talk poetry, and he told me about a book he’d been working on for awhile called, The Devil’s Thesaurus. After putting it on the shelf for a few years, he’d resumed work on it.
I loved the title right off, and as Sam described the idea behind it, I was super intrigued. The Devil’s Thesaurus was not just a book of poems, but a book whose poems all told the story of a relationship. What’s more, the poems were arranged like a thesaurus: each poem illustrated a word, and poems were arranged in pairs of synonym/antonym. My mind was slightly blown, and I encouraged Sam to keep at it.
Nearly a year later, The Devil’s Thesaurus is finished and available on Amazon (check it out here). In its pages you’ll find a wide variety of poems. There are fascinating conceptual poems like “Yin” and “Yang.” These poems can be read separately or (as their titles suggest) you can interweave their lines so that together they form a third poem. Other poems, like “Wane” or “Virtuous” are philosophical or theological. Moods throughout the book range from jubilant (“Zenith”) to comical (“Celibate”) to poignant (“Gaunt”) and crushing (“Nadir”).
Given Sam’s versatility, I’m sure most people will find something to like in his book. Check it out! Below is one poem from the book called “Xiphoid.” For me, this poem evokes the gnawing tension you feel when realizing someone might not be what they seem. Plus, the poem’s content is mirrored in its shape!
Xiphoid How crazy is it that we revert to Greek or Latin just to describe something as accurately as possible? Like the curved edge of your chest as you sleep. It’s not a scimitar, it’s something else entirely.