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The Menace of the Minotaur – a review of David Harrison Horton’s MAZE POEMS

David Harrison Horton
Arteidolia Press

Daedalus, with his genius, was barely able to escape from the labyrinth of his own creation which was built to contain the Minotaur. Theseus, with the aid of Ariadne and her ball of twine was able to defeat the Minotaur and free the Athenians from the Cretian sacrifice of their young men and women in the labyrinth. David Harrison Horton, in his most recent book MAZE POEMS, has made use of Daedalus’s labyrinth, Theseus’s cleverness and Ariadne’s practical skill to take on the Minotaur of language.

Language has taken on monstrous proportions in our modern era being used to propagate misinformation in the political realm. In contemporary culture language has too often taken on the lumbering weight of a didacticism that longs for fulfillment in the advent of a social realist hierarchy in a Year Zero horror utopia. Mr. Horton in MAZE POEMS has achieved the admirable end of removing meaning from the word by losing it within the labyrinth. In the poems in this book we are led on a journey that is highly intriguing and mesmerizing, but by the time that the reader finishes any of the given poems, what they have just read is not of primary importance. The importance is in the journey and finding the way to the exit of the maze, the words and sentences that make up the poems have the same importance as Ariadne’s thread, but once out of the labyrinth the thread is no longer needed.

David Harrison Horton’s book is an exercise in letting go.

Considering guys like Oppenheimer and Horace are dust so fat lot of good

that does me now

is representative of the mental attitude necessary to navigate the route through this book. Knowledge is not gained in understanding the word on the page. The reader can have the literary prowess of Horace, but it gains them nothing and like Oppenheimer, witnessing with terrifying awe the power of the atomic bomb, they recognize the nightmare impact of language.

The word is the Minotaur. The word is the nightmare. Horton is Daedalus and through the process of the maze he has given us the key to become the hero. The release from the confines of the word has been a focus of artists for over a century now. The Dadaist and Lettrist experiments of moving language to pure sound and the concrete poets examining the Word free of the baggage of words are some of the more notable attempts to come to a cleaner and more expressive mode of unadulterated understanding. David Harrison Horton’s MAZE POEMS is the next step in the move away from the confines of the word. The release from the confines of the word has been a focus of artists for over a century now. As he writes:

The signal is faulty but the message comes through somehow like in the

days of watching rabbit ears radio and TV

David Harrison Horton’s MAZE POEMS signals to a future where inexact and deceptive language is lost in the labyrinth and left behind so that we can make our way out of the muddle of forced meaning into the freedom of the open page emptied of the Minotaur’s menace.

–review by John Greiner

Poetry Reviews

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