A clever, playful and very cohesive chapbook that dwells on circus characters, many in terms of relationships. It doesn't skimp on the puns, as you'llA clever, playful and very cohesive chapbook that dwells on circus characters, many in terms of relationships. It doesn't skimp on the puns, as you'll see from some of the poem titles: The Ringmaster Answers the Phone The Strongman Goes Weak in the Knees The Fire-Eater Gets All Hot & Bothered The Tightrope Walker Gets High...more
From Escape into Life: "Inksuite is a wonderfully smart and funny chapbook of poems focused on font and other particulars related to printing and ink.From Escape into Life: "Inksuite is a wonderfully smart and funny chapbook of poems focused on font and other particulars related to printing and ink."
Another DGP chapbook that I ordered without being familiar with the poet but very much enjoyed. The poems and pieces in here (including a funny, "impoAnother DGP chapbook that I ordered without being familiar with the poet but very much enjoyed. The poems and pieces in here (including a funny, "impossible one-act poem") were very entertaining, yet addressed various issues like Jewishness, being a woman, and relationships. Many of the poems are written "for" another writer - there's one for Lydia Davis, for example, two for Russell Edson, written loosely in that author's style. By far the funniest was the one provided as a sample poem on DGP's website, "Woman to woman," which is for Alan Dann, whom I've never heard of (and cannot find on Google). In any case, it starts like this:
"A woman came up to me in Bloomingdales and said she liked my sunglasses and I told her where to get them and she said, "what do you think I am -- a millionaire?" and stomped off."
The repetition and bad manners in the poem are really quite funny. I also much enjoyed the impossible one-act poem, "Maria Stuart on Mars."
Yes, there were some wacky ones, others more serious. The first poem interested me a lot, being about Germany and Jewishness, but struck a wrong note at first. Maybe that's part of why I liked "Woman to woman" so much - the comic relief.
I recently ordered a chapbook bundle from Dancing Girl Press, a deal this micropress offers in which you order 5 chapbooks for $25. I’m a recidivist bI recently ordered a chapbook bundle from Dancing Girl Press, a deal this micropress offers in which you order 5 chapbooks for $25. I’m a recidivist bundler because it’s a good way to read new, often little-known poets. (Disclaimer: they’ve also published two chapbooks of mine.)
(Talking Doll) has been the best of this bundle so far. It’s a cohesive, deeply imagined collection of poems that is less about a talking doll than about inventiveness, including the doll’s inventor, who appears to be Thomas Edison.
It’s always a gamble when you buy a chap/book of poetry by a poet you never read before. And it’s wonderful when the writing is assured; it flows, not without surprises, but without snags or awkwardness. Even better when it’s engaging and original. I truly felt I was in expert hands even though there are syntactical jumps, irregular punctuation and capitalization. It all worked for me.
Some of the poems from the “banquet” section were inspired by Light’s Golden Jubilee, a party celebrating the 50th anniversary of the light bulb’s invention, attended by “The men who invented wealth.” You can listen to the poet read a poem from this section here in a short video: http://jhopestein.wordpress.com/short...
Years ago my father wrote a book (1929: America Before the Crash) inspired by the very same celebration, so these poems had a lot of appeal for me personally, having grown up amid Edisonmania.
The chap opens with a poem called “The Inventor’s Last Breath,” about a test tube supposedly holding Thomas Edison’s last breath. (Is this possible?)
I loved the shorter poems “Invention of the Insomniacs,” and - -
Invention of Light Bulbs Hand Massage, 1890
She rubs the factory from his palms salutes each finger like an admiral - Removes the ring and begins on the bark of his hands. It feels good to him when it’s off & she makes putty from elbow to finger. She slips the ring back on. (It feels good to him when it’s on) & how he finds himself by daylight.
Entering with trepidation, I really enjoyed this chapbook. It includes (surprise!) 13 poems, each titled "Designer Vagina."
The poet was inspired to wEntering with trepidation, I really enjoyed this chapbook. It includes (surprise!) 13 poems, each titled "Designer Vagina."
The poet was inspired to write these poems after browsing info on the internet about vaginal cosmetic surgery, a concept that truly confounds. As expected, there are some disturbing but also very funny images in these poems. The poems are "in your face" from the front cover, which features drawings of vaginas decorated with rhinestones and the like.
The question underlying all these poems is, really, "why?" It was interesting reading it in the wake of the ongoing toxic breast implant scandal, which was less surprising for the implants' toxicity than for the number of women who had had implants at all. Sad.
I'd never heard of this poet, but ordered the chapbook as part of a "book bundle" deal offered by the publisher (where I also published a chapbook). II'd never heard of this poet, but ordered the chapbook as part of a "book bundle" deal offered by the publisher (where I also published a chapbook). I thought the poems were marvelous - sometimes collage-like, sometimes funny and spot on, and often ended with a brilliant last line, such as
"When I looked again, the clouds were just where I left them." ("Meanwhile at the Lava Flow")
"It was a matter of time / like chopping is a matter of axes." ("Much Later")
"the four a.m. sadness beds down in its own fur." (At the Heart of it Was a Quantum Event")
The poems are all pretty short, some just five or six lines long.
I liked the concept, topic and structure of this. Some of it was very amusing. Being an atheist myself, I identified most with theVirginal Atheist, whI liked the concept, topic and structure of this. Some of it was very amusing. Being an atheist myself, I identified most with theVirginal Atheist, who thinks it’s all or nothing. I used to be like that on the flip side, back when I was trying to convince myself I believed in god. I thought the Virginal Atheist worked very well, showing a kind of internal, moralistic control freak. The last image is terrific, with him spitting out the word ‘atheist,’ and its looking like a pearl, and his not being in the least surprised.
Most of these start out with the same, simple structure, which could be likened to a child’s alphabet book:
The virginal atheist thinks that belief should remain untouched… The quietest atheist is actually an oak tree… The token athesist has a grudge… The child atheist grew up in Berkeley, CA…. The gentlemen atheist dates a Christian…
I enjoyed some of the observations here, like “the token atheist has a grudge against god, which means that god exists and the atheist is already wrong.” I also enjoyed the creativity: “The kevlar atheist believes he is ten foot tall and bullet proof.”
Some of it seemed less successful. The token athesist, for example, whom you’d expect to be kind of blasé, becomes a nihilistic atheist and then falls in love and goes to church with his lover, finally believing “God is love.” I had a couple arguments with that. In my mind a token atheist doesn’t have to go through transformations; he just has to doubt, look at the usual arguments for and against the existence of god, and come out on the downside. (But, hey, arguing is fun and thinking is the upside of reading.)
Considering at least two of us have read this book since Nina pointed out it can be downloaded, I can only laud the idea of FREE ebooks as an effective strategy of getting your poetry read.
Elsewhere, the perennial grammatical peeve unfortunately appears in this chapbook, the dreaded lay vs. lie problem:
“… he suspects under that brittle veneer of piety lays a powerful atheist.”
And “they lay in bed … one whispers into the other’s ear…”
Now if that second one had been past tense it would have been grammatically correct. Bloop! It does annoy me when people get lie and lay wrong. One can forgive the layman (no pun intended), or Eric Clapton, but writers who supposedly care about language should take better care. ...more
This is a wonderful chapbook that I bought on a whim and for which I was richly rewarded. To be honest when it arrived I thought I wouldn’t like it. TThis is a wonderful chapbook that I bought on a whim and for which I was richly rewarded. To be honest when it arrived I thought I wouldn’t like it. The title struck me suddenly as pompous, and the cover design gave me a “huh?” moment. But the poems are great – sad and funny, heavy in a sneaky, casual way. More than once I was brought to tears.
When I got to the poem “Faking It” I realized I’d read the poem years ago in an issue of Barrow Street and had even written the poet to say how much I liked it. Even so, many of the poems in this chapbook were even better than “Faking It,” which begins –
“My girlfriend has multiple orgasms. I’m not sure who is giving her these orgasms, but she’ll come home with a grocery sack and drop them on the table –
they look like tiny doorknobs made of bronze.”
Some of the poems have line breaks and stanzas but many of them appear on the page more like prose poems. “Faking It,” for example, starts off “shaped like prose” but then becomes poem. None of this bothered me. All the poems were inviting.
Among my favorites was “Redundancy of Light,” which starts seemingly serious and turns funny –
“Outside this hotel room rain falls as pure as its definition. Call the French, tell them
there should be a word for shadows of raindrops on a hotel window.”
Many of the poems, and there are only 17, refer to film or particular films. One starts with George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and another one of my favorites is “Quitclaim of the Wizard of Oz.” There’s another called “Film Noir” and another with the long long title “Gratuitous Voice-Over at the End of a Film Reflecting on the Tribulations of the Plot and Coming Finally to an Epiphany.”
This is one of the best –if not the best- poetry collection I’ve read this year. It’s one of those in which everything in me said “yes.”
Here’s a link to a poem (the George Bailey one) at 42Opus and a second one also from the book published at Diagram: