The history of speculative poetry has its key figures, some recent, some much older. Among these, both Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft figure prominently. To an extent, Life among the Dream Merchants derives its power from a familiarity with, and an echo of, these two poets. Yet it retains an integral originality, a contemporaneousness and firm sense of the author's style and assurance as a poet.
As a result, it reads not as a pastiche of the earlier two poets, but, rather, as a homage. The poems are unmistakabely Kurt Newton's, and both their style and concerns are his, not those of either Poe or Lovecraft. There is a maturity here, and a sure sense of self. And it is a sheer delight to read these poems, to see where they lead. For instance, the opening stanza of the opening poem, "At the Mountain of Dreams", is indicative of the strengths of Life among the Dream Merchants, both stylistically and thematically; it begins:
Once I dreamed
I was dreaming, I was dreaming,
Alone I was walking
Along a dark ocean receding,
and this, let me remind you, is merely the collection's start.
This is a mature collection. It is a strong one, also, and well deserving of a place in both the hearts and collections of any lover of fine, or imaginitive poetry. And, if rumours be true, it may be a final collection, as Kurt Newton has expressed a desire to concentrate upon his fiction in the future. If there is truth to this rumour, it is all to poetry's loss. A talent this capable of technical excellence and imaginitive fecundity deserves every chance to create and develop a suitably strong and diverse body of poetry. Let us hope, then, that Kurt Newton does not end his poetry career with Life among the Dream Merchants, but that it is an indication of where he will be yet to become both better and stronger, if such is possible.