Bryan Dietrich’s The Assumption is far from a typical book of poems, but we were already congnizant of this from reading previous works such as the phenomenal Prime Directive.
If you’re expecting something along the same lines as that epic geek poem, however, you’re in for a surprise. While The Assumption is epic, it’s divided and simultaniously more focused than his previous book.
In The Assumption, Dietrich asks us to look in many directions, and some of it gets very personal, but through the whole thing, our eyes are being turned skyward.
The titular ‘assumption’ falls on many levels - the assumption that we are alone in the universe and the conflicting concept that we are not seem to be the strongest themes of the work, at least on the surface.
Constantly at odds with one another, these two dichotomous ideas form the fabric upon which the real story is embroidered. In the details we find assumptions that are more personal, assumptions the speaker, likely Dietrich himself, encountered as a young man.
These presumptions seem to stem from others and himself about who he would be and where his talents would be spent, few of which ultimately turned out to be true.
When we reach the end, we find the core assumption was that all this geekery, great intellectual nature of the speaker, would end in nothing, that it could not be made into a true art or career. The implication? The assumptions were not just proven wrong, but overcome, like great obstacles, much as someday we as a society will have to overcome our assumptions about the nature of life and the universe - which we have already been forced to do over and over throughout history.
This multi-leveled assumption then becomes a symbol for anything within ourselves or our society which creates false expectations, creating a world or mind for us in which we cannot become what we wish, whether as individuals or as a world, and stresses the importance of disregarding such boundaries.
All this originates from an epic of poetry which required great skill and care to craft. This is not a stream-of-consciousness expression of Dietrich’s personal philosophies, this is a well wrought, long-thought-out collection of connected verses, which required a vast amount of knowledge and research into genre media, science, physics, and psychology.
On the same note, it can’t be read like a stream. Despite one's temptation to devour the verses quickly, it should be savored and carefully considered, not as an assignment to be slogged through, but as a meal of highest caliber, the nuances of which will be missed if rushed. Luckily, unlike a gourmet meal, The Assumption is still there to consume again when you’re finished, and such a second helping is highly recommended, though I’m sure you’ll figure that out for yourself after the first journey through these pages.
The book is an excellent addition to any intellectual’s poetry shelf. I know that, for my part, this book has found a permanent home alongside the few other poetry books that will offer up something new every time I decide to wander the pages.
The Assumption is available now from WordFarm, and can be picked up on Amazon.