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Inside the Walls of My Own House: The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood) Book 2 by Tony Trigilio reviewed!!

 

Watching in the Dark: Puncture Wounds Left by DARK SHADOWS

trigilio2-cov-lg

Inside the Walls of My Own House: The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood), Book 2, by Tony Trigilio. Buffalo, New York: BlazeVOX books, October 2016. 152 pages. $16.00, paper.

 

Inside the Walls of My Own House

Every shadowy story should invoke the uncanny. Tony Trigilio keeps dreaming (and writing) of his uncanny space, at home with his mother in front of the television screen. Space and time billow and unfold as he remembers watching Dark Shadowsand being transported to gothic Maine:

an electronic portal opened unto
the spirit world, a supernatural

transmitter documenting the undead
life of the 208-year-old creature who

lived inside the walls of my own house;
I took for granted that our TV functioned

as a conduit for a “two-directional exchange
between occultism and technology,” as media

scholar Stefan Andriopoulos describes
the earliest precursors of the television:

19th-century optical devices designed
for remote viewing and clairvoyance,

leading many early 20th-century viewers to
believe that to watch TV was to experience

“the uncanny occurrence of the supernatural
or marvelous in one’s own living room”—

This is a hybrid, vampire text. A hallucination. A story told through the red haze of a fantastical curse. It grows more complex as time stretches, changes, and is infused with information about the show, the past, and the present-day state of the world.

Collinwood becomes an extension of Trigilio’s childhood home. The characters appear like family members with terrible secrets watched from afar. Every detail of the house and the characters is remembered, re-viewed, and obsessed over.

The book begins midway through the show’s run. Previous episodes are sometimes mentioned, but it is not necessary to have read the first book or seen the first episodes of Dark Shadows to immediately become hooked on the story of the Collins family, by way of Trigilio’s childhood fascination.

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Tony Trigilio and the Page 99 test on Heavy Feather

 

The Page 99 Test: Tony Trigilio & INSIDE THE WALLS OF MY OWN HOUSE: THE COMPLETE DARK SHADOWS (OF MY CHILDHOOD), BOOK 2

The Page 99 Test: Tony Trigilio & Inside the Walls of My Own House:
The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood), Book 2

“Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.” ―Ford Madox Ford

Page ninety-nine opens the final section of my new book, Inside the Walls of My Own House: The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood), Book 2. This page is a key pivot point for all that has come before and all that will follow in the book’s final fifty pages.

“I plan to call Book 2 of this poem / Inside the Walls of My Own House,” I write on page ninety-nine, “but it’s become The Book of Violence.” Even though The Book of Violence wouldn’t have been the most elegant title, it’s an accurate reflection of the book’s conceptual framework, and this discarded title is central to the volume as a whole.

At this point in the book, page ninety-nine, one of the central principles of the project becomes clearer: the imagination, even in its most powerful form as empathy, can’t easily undo the violence that gestates at its foundation.

First, some background. This is the second book of a multivolume experiment in autobiography. I’m trigilio2-cov-lgwatching all 1,225 episodes of the old vampire soap opera, Dark Shadows, originally broadcast on ABC TV from 1966-1971, and writing one sentence in response to each episode. I shape each sentence into verse. This book, like the first volume, is composed entirely in couplets (Book 3, in progress, is a poetry/prose hybrid).

Each episode functions as a potential trigger for the book’s autobiographical excavations. Proust had his madeleine; I have Barnabas Collins, the show’s main character, a two-centuries-old vampire who haunted my nightmares as a child.

Read the whole piece here 

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Roger Craik on his poetry and Pied Piper project in the Star Beacon

 

ASHTABULA — When people think about retirement, many picture life in a condo on a beach in sunny Florida. 

That's not the case with Roger Craik, emeritus professor of English at Kent State University Ashtabula, who retired last May. He's traveling, writing poetry, voice recording a collection of poems and fulfilling speaking engagements, including a recent meeting of the Cleveland Area Mensa. 

He has written several full-length poetry books. 

But one of his favorites is one he didn't write. Rather, his parents illustrated and colored it for him as a young boy — a facsimile of Robert Browning's "The Pied Piper of Hamelin, A Child's Story." 

His parents, Tom and Wendy Craik, gave it to him on his sixth birthday in 1962, when he was considered old enough to enjoy it. He remembers enjoying "The Pied Piper" being read to him as well as sensing his parents' relish in reading aloud and their pausing to point to the illustrations.

A few years ago, with his parents' permission, Craik made a copy of the treasured book in Nottingham, England, and began sending it out to friends as an email attachment.

Everyone who saw it loved it, he said.

Tom Craik penned Browning's words, nothing added or deleted, but the illustrations come entirely from his parents' imagination. They were 32 and 25 years old at the time.

In the past year, the book has been translated in Bulgarian, as well as Romanian. It's also been exhibited at the Gaudeamus International Book Fair in Bucharest. In fall 2017, "Pied Piper" will be translated in Russian, coming out in Minsk, Belarus. 

Craik said he knows why the book is popular around the world.

"It's original, intelligent and whimsical," he said. "I think it will always appeal. I do this for my parents but, more importantly, for the pleasure of other parents and their children."

In addition, Minsk Publishing is putting together a selection of poetry on emigration and Craik's poetry will be published as an article by Lyuba Perbushina of the University of Minsk. She sent Craik a large survey, asking for comments and questions on his pieces.

"It's an academic article written about me and translating my poems," he said. "I have been invited to Minsk in 2017 and I plan to go."

Craik also hopes to go to Romania, where he was a Fulbright Scholar at Oradea University in 2013-14.

"I enjoy eastern Europe," he said.

His poetry has appeared in several national poetry journals, such as "The Formalist," "Fulcrum," "The Literary Review" and "The Atlanta Review." 

English by birth and educated at the universities of Reading and Southampton, Craik has worked as a journalist, TV critic and chess columnist. Before coming to the U.S. in 1991, he worked in Turkish universities and was awarded a Beineke Fellowship to Yale in 1990. 

He's visited North Yemen, Egypt, South Africa, Tibet, Nepal, Japan, Bulgaria — where he taught during spring 2007 on a Fulbright Scholarship to Sofia University — and, more recently, the United Arab Emirates, Austria and Croatia. 

Retired or not, Craik says poetry is his passion. He writes for at least an hour over coffee each morning before breakfast.

His newest book of poems is coming out from BlazeVox, in Buffalo, which published his last full-length collection "Down Stranger Roads" (2014), and also "The Pied Piper." 

But wherever Craik travels, Ashtabula is still his home base.

"I am continually grateful for (former KSU Ashtabula) Dean John Mahan for hiring me in 1991 and giving me this marvelous life," he said. "I mention him at all my talks. I'm so fortunate."

Read the whole article here

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Animated Landscape by Robert Gibbons Reviewed

 

Robert Gibbons, Animated Landscape, BlazeVox, 2016, 146 pp, $16.

Speaking recently at the Gloucester Writers Center, poet and Olson scholar Don Byrd advised poets who are inspired by Charles Olson not to attempt to follow him because Olson was uniquely unfollowable. Rather, Byrd said, they should attempt to move beyond Olson with their own work, as the poet himself had done with respect to his own masters, Pound and Williams.  

Among poets who have learned from Olson while forging their own unique path, Robert Gibbons stands out. Though widely published and admired among poets, scholars of poetry, critics, and curators of contemporary art, Robert Gibbons has been less known to discerning readers of new American poetry. This is about to change with the publication by BlazeVox of Animated Landscape, Gibbon’s major new collection of poems. Those who care about the life of poetry in a time when there are many MFAs in verse but fewer poets who appeal directly to the human condition should attend to what Richard Deming calls Gibbons’ “universal and inclusive vision.”  

Gibbons’ poetry is informed not only by the crucial texts he’s read and internalized—Kristeva, Davenport, Olson himself— but also by the music and visual art that has animated his life and work—the jazz of Coltrane, the inventions of Bach, the paintings of Clyfford Still (about whom he has written incisively in Olson/Still: Crossroad)—along with the walks he has taken daily in the places he’s lived—Gloucester, MA, Salem, Washington, DC, Boston, Portland, ME, and now Denver—bringing them to life and into his pages through conversations with those he has encountered going about their daily business, as Gibbons has gone about his as both secret sharer and astute observer. His is a poetry that is as intensely lived as it is informed by a poised intelligence; a poetry of the heart and mind, where intellect and feeling do not conflict but, instead, fuse into incandescence, as Gibbons writes: “where senses reach an/intoxicated height, where air alone is/magic, silence music, touch between/us dispelling all dread.” 

Read the whole review here

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Photos on flickr