The Underside of the Rainbow



Rainbows are a phenomenon caused by reflection, refraction, and the dispersion of light. They carry with them stories and myths, legends and beliefs, and when one appears in the sky after a storm, it’s a reminder that something good, something gentle can come out of chaos.

But what if the chaos is the rainbow itself?

Burkhead gives readers a raw, gritty, and unapologetic realism in this collection. He shows them what happens when they take off their rose-colored glasses and look at the world around them. Instead of fields of freshly grown flowers, he writes of alleys with broken bottles and hypodermic needles, no happily-ever-afters, just blunt and honest truths, sometimes with endings, sometimes without. Just as life doesn’t hand out answers, Burkhead doesn’t sugarcoat its truths.

This collection is a reflection, an optical alteration on what readers pretend not to see: insecurities, pain, abuse, honesty. So often in life, and in poetry, the world is romanticized, as a playground where everyone falls in love, where everyone has their happy ending. But in the underside, there is heartbreak, there is isolation, there is repetition, just as there is addiction, sex, and repulsion. There are drunk days, too-sober nights, and in-betweens. There is madness, there is confusion, there is clarity.

Not all rainbows are made of light.

In fact some of them are nothing but darkness.



What Are They Saying About The Underside of the Rainbow

“B. E. Burkhead’s debut poetry collection did exactly what it was supposed to do: it reignited my desire to read and write poetry again. Some poems tickled my funny bones, while others freed emotions I hadn’t known needed a good jostle. Underside took me on an unexpected emotional journey I relished long after reading. To me that’s the mark of a damn fine collection–and one that will remain in my library forever.”
—Jessica McHugh, author of The Green Kangaroos

“There is a blatant honesty, an abject truth in B. E. Burkhead’s words, which is not buoyantly hateful, but bleakly hopeful.”
—G. Arthur Brown, author of Kitten

“…owes as much to poetic tradition running from Whitman through to Ginsberg, as to the language and lexicon of contemporary horror, splashpainting a creative world…A world which, as in both of these traditions, is never comfortably far from our own.”
—William Hamilton, Professor at Neumann University

“Poetry that bleeds.”
—Carlton Mellick III, author of Quicksand House