John Fitzgerald is an attorney for the disabled. His first two books of poetry are Spring Water (Turning Point, 2005) and Telling Time by the Shadows (Turning Point, 2008).
The Mind is John Fitzgerald's third poetry collection and continues and expands on his insight into the myriad aspects of human emotion. The poems are philosophical; emotions are set against the ‘objective’ consciousness of the mind. The result is a deep exploration of what it means to be human.
If I were still working with John Fitzgerald (in the interest of full disclosure, we worked together at Red Hen Press), I would nudge him and say of his book THE MIND, "Skynet becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th."
My sense of John is that he has been aware of himself for a long time, but not in a solipsistic or narcissistic way at all. He is a keen observer, a consumer of origins, fine distinctions, continua, grand schemes, and minute details. He likely began observing and contemplating information from the moment he experienced the glare of light in the delivery room, and he has never stopped.
Interestingly, while THE MIND is about the remarkable way John thinks, it speaks to the larger questions of how we all think, how we came to be sapient in the first place, and how we develop as thinking souls in space and time. Keeping the language of his prose-like tercets basic, unadorned, and free-flowing, he accomplishes poetry of significance and elemental beauty. Left brain contemplation of structure and systems aligns itself with right brain wonder and whimsy, but neither hemisphere dominates in the work, so the reader can only expect the unexpected. And the rewards are great: poems of curiosity, orientation with the universe, sorrow, finding center, and surprising hilarity. (Only John can make the idea of rocks funny.)
If I were teaching from John's book, I would encourage poetry students to examine his masterful skill with personification. I would encourage philosophy students to wrestle with his experiences of phenomena. I would ask psychology and neurobiology candidates to experience the brain from inside-out. I would ask physics students to explore how we process space and time in an era when such concepts are continually challenged and updated. I would ask divinity students to consider creation from the point of view of the created. THE MIND weighs so many approaches to thinking and being that you won't devour it in one or two sittings. Read it as you would the Book of Genesis, or Hawking, or an introduction to meditation. You will not think the same way ever again after reading it.