Out of Context

Poetry - General
118 Pages
Reviewed on 06/07/2016
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Author Biography

Thom Kudla’s latest book, HOW I AM DIFFERENT, was named a finalist in the Poetry Category of the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The ebook version won multiple medals in the 2017 Global Ebook Awards. HOW WE ARE DIFFERENT (HWAD), an Apple app based on that book, earned two gold medals in the 2018 eLit Book Awards and was recognized by the IBPA as a Benjamin Franklin Digital Award Silver Honoree.

Thom’s books of poetry COMMENCEMENT and OUT OF CONTEXT won the 2017 IndieReader Discovery Award for Poetry. Thom's book WHAT MY BRAIN TOLD ME was selected as a finalist in the short story non-fiction category of the 2009 National Indie Excellence Awards. His writing has been anthologized in a number of books, including CHICAGO AFTER DARK and SILVER: AN ECLECTIC ANTHOLOGY OF POETRY & PROSE.

Thom was awarded a Master of Arts in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University. He earned a bachelor's from Indiana University, Bloomington, where he received a grant to write his first novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite

In Out of Context, poet Thom Kudla offers a series of sardonic, heartbreaking and often inexplicably poignant observations on the futility and joy of being fundamentally human. The human condition has existed for as long as there have been poets to muse upon it, and the collections of verse produced in pursuit of clarity are as unique as fingerprints. Kudla’s work is no exception, and yet it is exceptional.

There is a ‘gloves off’ confrontational quality to Thom Kudla’s work in Out of Context which renders the poems both compelling and timeless. We cannot stop reading because we are aware that Kudla has painted a metaphysical target on his back and we cannot wait for his hubris to catch up with him - all the while knowing that we ourselves lack the courage to ask the questions he has asked with anything even vaguely resembling his courage and compassion. We are witnesses to a human train wreck, and must continue looking even as we come to the unsettling conclusion that we are passengers on the same train - such is the power of Kudla’s vision. In “For Good,” Kudla declares: “Let it be known/as trees greet the sky/with welcoming arms/that I am finally/done with/being so Goddamn human.”

Thomas Kudla’s Out of Context is a lush garden of whys and hows, tailor made for disillusioned optimists incapable of curing their addiction to hope. To read this masterful collection is to become reacquainted with the vast oxymoron that is humanity. With Kudla, all things are possible, improbable though they might be.