"Spurs of imagination
Pangs of intellect
Whirlwinds of beauty"

The title of Carter’s poetry collection indicates a close study of the seasonal changes of autumn: the alterations in colors by nature’s clockwork; the decay of life that marks the coming of winter. But Carter works on a much deeper level here, manifesting as a necropoetic observer of the macrocosm of our existence. Autumn simply gives inspiration to his melancholic scrutiny of life as he probes primal matters of death, the conflicts of nature and society, and the turmoil of loneliness in a fragmented world.

In “Autumn Leaves,” a metaphorical lament of a society lost in its decadence and the erosion of meaningful interconnection, he writes:

Waving for connection
Sores on their hearts, apple worm
Decomposing in societies of decadence
Deteriorating in the wintry ground of dogma
Burning in heaps

Other poems share this same visionary use of syntax and play on words. “Dream #1789” is a fearsome hallucination of spiders. “Child’s Hymn” explores the fairytale world of the wild co-existing with its “morbid pleas for the salvation of life.” “Prescient Dreams” ruminates on visceral dreams of death after “living a life of incisions.” And “Mother’s Motto” is one of the most impactful, succinct poems in this collection and quite humorous in its brevity.

Autumn serves as the perfect muse for Carter’s literary compilation, and one feels the deep isolation, grief, pain, yearning, and fears of the human condition. Much of the poetry brings to mind the works of Edgar Allen Poe, and Carter even gives a respectful nod to the macabre poet. He also serves as sketch artist to his own words, and the imagery threaded throughout is disquieting with a morbid beauty. Reading Carter is like falling into a trance and emerging into an unexplored dream world where one discovers reality in a startling new way.

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