tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE's Reviews > Staticticians

Staticticians by Christopher Mattison
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bookshelves: poetry

I suppose it wd be fairer to this poet to've not read this bk back-to-back w/ Pat Reed's "Lost Coast" b/c now I'm influenced by both bks & conflating them together somewhat even though they're significantly different from each other. The way in wch they seem entirely too much the same to me & the reason WHY I'm conflating them (in addition to their proximity in my reading of them) is that I don't find either to be formally or conceptually challenging.

Generally, I tend to respond to works that strike me as innovative. That type of criteria can be as much a critical trap as any other so I try to not let it rule my reviews entirely. After all, I've had at least 2 friends rave about the composer Benjamin Britten - w/ one of them saying that he wasn't particularly innovative but that he's a master as what he did - so I keep that kind of possibility in mind.

SO, in poetry, as in any other medium, there're bound to be works that will appeal to other poets not b/c the work is so esoteric that only other poets will understand it - but more b/c the other poets will be more responsive to nuances of expression. Imagine a painter looking at paintings: the painter might notice a slightly odd or original brushstroke that in the "big picture" doesn't amt to much but that still tickles their fancy. Perhaps it's that type of sensibility that I'd need to appreciate this bk.

Alas, instead, it just didn't do much for me at all. The opening poem, that precedes even the title page, is "for John Wieners". I haven't read much (or any) of Wiener's poetry but I DO have a bk of his: "BEHIND THE STATE CAPITOL OR CINCINNATI PIKE" wch seems pretty substantial & is published by "Good Gay Poets" & I DO have a remembrance wch MAY be associated w/ this bk: on page 22 there's a picture of 2 guys fucking & I remember a bisexual poet friend of mine pointing to this particular picture or a similar one in another Wieners bk & saying something like "This is what I'm afraid of." Now I don't think he meant that he was afraid of gay sex, I think he meant he was afraid of the raw explicitness. I, on the other hand, rather identified w/ the explicitness b/c I've made many an explicit image myself. SO, perhaps Mattison is gay, perhaps he isn't. The poem in question has as its last line: "and what love some boys give". At any rate, the hypothetical gayness seems to have little to do w/ much of anything in the long run.

Then there's the title: "STATICTICIANS" - not "STATISTICIANS". I'm a homonymphonemiac &, therefore, a sucker for puns, so I liked that. But is it a pun? Maybe it's a criticism implying that statistics are too static, maybe not. I'm just projecting here. Maybe such a hypothetical criticism cd be used against this very 'review'. Am I just pseudo-analyzing the poetry w/o really getting anywhere close to it? Probably.

Whatever the case, that's the problem here for me. The poetry just seems like more of the same old, same old stuff that generally makes me uninterested in poetry: there's nothing about it that reeks or speaks of grand ideas or personality for me. It just seems like the type of 'creative' product that's so omnipresent b/c there's so much self-complacency in the world. Sorry about that.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 19, 2010 – Shelved
May 19, 2010 – Shelved as: poetry
May 19, 2010 – Finished Reading

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