The Crumb Road was well received by the group. Maitreyabandhu is an ordained Buddhist and this collection meditates on the shaping nature of childhood, the inconstancy of memory, the search for spirituality, then focuses on a defining homosexual relationship between two boys. The collection is divided into three numbered parts which could be broadly categorized as: 1. childhood/family 2. a spiritual search 3. a retrospective look at a covert, coming-of-age, relationship.
The theme of suppression, which features strongly in the poems of the last section, also makes a subtle appearance in the first two sections. Themes of solitary life and meditation also occur throughout. It is a mature, quiet collection that deserves a few readings to gain the full impact of the poems.
Our one criticism was that the last section appeared to have been ‘filled-out’. Many of the poems were beautifully evocative of a time and place, the clandestine circumstances of the relationship gave the poems a tense edge and this atmosphere was developed towards a tragic end without recourse to a strictly chronological or predictable narrative arc. But these poems were crowded by others which were too similar and more expository in manner.
Some found the ‘zen’ type poems of the middle section became too abstract and were happy to have these balanced by ones that were more grounded in a physical reality. Although Maitreyabandhu meditates on the physical presence of a bird or a painting, scrutinising the subject with a microscopic intensity, this is often used as springboard into another realm. Overall we would thoroughly recommend this impressive first collection.


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