The Last Hello

99 Odes to the Body

Poetry - General
218 Pages
Reviewed on 07/10/2021
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Author Biography

Born and raised in Idaho, Joe currently lives in Boise. He earned his Master’s degree in Architecture from the University of Idaho, practiced architecture in Idaho and California for over forty years, and taught architectural design at the U of Idaho for nine years. Nowadays, Joe enjoys being retired and free to work on personal creative projects, including raising an annual vegetable garden and “playing in the dirt.” Joe was introduced to the poetry of Pablo Neruda while living in Santiago, Chile many years ago and that is where the idea for writing the Odes was born. In addition to Pablo Neruda, Mother Earth and Nature have always been major sources of inspiration.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

Joe Numbers returns to the ode in his poetry anthology The Last Hello: 99 Odes to the Body. In this collection of poems, Numbers views the tangible beauty of human anatomy in a vision that is both playful and sensuous. These poems are tributes to an intense exploration of our corporeal self—an attempt at purification by extolling the flaws that make our bodies beautiful. From the glorious evolution of feet leaving behind impressions in the sand, the insistent marks of our lives, to the miracle of the womb in conceiving life, these are poems with soulful intellect that make the human body the very locus of the author’s musings. In this artistic exploration, you will never look at your body the same way again.

The human body used as his subject lends passion to Joe Numbers’s work spiritually and existentially. By examining the strength, uniqueness, and flaws of our form, he achieves a maximum degree of involvement for the reader by creating a strong sense of the self. As a trained architect, Joe Numbers builds the human body as the foundation and visual base of his poetry. A surreal feel to the quality of his lines offers truth in his impressions of human mortality. His Ode to the Mustache and Beard communicates the idea of vanity by creating a connection to a historical past where facial hair was a part of the virile manifesto. Consoling, agitating, and sometimes even unsettling, The Last Hello: 99 Odes to the Body is poetry for meditative reading that justifies our reason for existing.