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The Rapture of Eddy Daemon by Daniel Y. Harris Book reviewed at Stride

 




The Rapture of Eddy Daemon, Daniel Y Harris (BlazeVOX)
Eddy Daemon is in thrall to Shake-Speares Sonnets. The subtitle says so. It also says this new book is a posthuman homage to said sonnets. I have no idea why the apostrophe is missing, or how Harris has let the daemon loose within these 14-line texts, but let loose he has, in a wild rollercoaster ride of cut-up, collage, image overload, scientific [dis]information and post-apocalyptic textual dystopia.
Harris' world is a posthuman one of decay, ruin, sensuality, intellectual and sexual abandon. Eddy Daemon, our anti-hero, runs amok through it, never pausing for breath, preferring to pile on the adjectives, the verbs and the images, choosing to live only in confusion. 'He won't be radicalized with selective memory.' Why? Because he appears to remember everything except his source material. Where is Shakespeare in all this? 'Eddy perfects the idea of degraded origin', apparently through 'divine breathing-in' and 'rapture's canon', with 'lust awakened'.
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Little: Novels by Emily Anderson reviewed in Ploughshares Blog

Emily-Cov-lgerLittle: Novels
Emily Anderson
BlazeVOX, August 2015
158 pp; $20

Buy: paperback

The vogue for erasure poems continues, which is good news. Done skillfully, the erasure poem encompasses what Samuel Johnson called “the two most engaging powers of an author: new things are made familiar, and familiar things are made new.” Srikanth Reddy’s Voyager discovers within Kurt Waldheim’s anodyne autobiography the confession that ought to have been there; Ronald Johnson’s RADI OS (the genre’s great progenitor) finds an eerie new visionary melody within the organ music of Paradise Lost.

Emily Anderson’s Little starts from texts that, in some quarters, are as familiar as and perhaps even more beloved than those of Joyce or Milton: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little Housebooks. In our time, in the light of what the United States’ imperial westward drive meant to native peoples and to the environment, the books are vulnerable to several kinds of political critique. I can also attest, however (having discovered the books as an adult, reading the whole series aloud twice, once to each daughter), that they have a plainspoken poetry, a clarity of detail, and a psychological acuity that earn them a spot not far from Huckleberry Finn on the shelf of our compromised national classics.

Read the whole review here 

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Ghost | Landscape by Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher reviewed!

 

GHOST/LANDSCAPE BY KRISTINA MARIE DARLING
AND JOHN GALLAHER

BLAZEVOX, 2016; 102 PP
REVIEWED BY ANNE CHAMPION

On the back cover of Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher’s Ghost/Landscape, Allison Benis White says, “One measure of the potency of literature is that its strangeness forces the reader to change her world to incorporate it, or to leave her world and join the one the writer has created.” This perfectly encapsulates the experience of entering Darling and Gallaher’s prose poems.

I admit that the form of prose poetry often makes me expect narrative, and it’s the denial of that expectation that makes Ghost/Landscape a compelling, reader-centric experience. The collection begins on “Chapter Two,” trumping expectations by placing the reader on the sideline of a battle whose beginning or cause you can’t place, making the ensuing conflict as dizzying as a maze. The details render a domestic setting, but with apocalyptic imagery: “Now our train leaving the platform, another dead pigeon near the tracks” and “Not one painting on the walls, and not a single photograph in any of those boxes.” The absence of photos or art signal that there’s no past in tact in these poems, and the dead bird along the tracks gestures towards a decomposing future weighted down by terror.


Read the whole review here


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Women and Ghosts is reviewed in HERMENEUTIC CHAOS JOURNAL!!

Kristina Marie Darling’s new collection, Women and Ghosts, is billed as a book of essays; however, the book is an ambitious hybrid of lyric essay, literary criticism, poetry, and playwriting. Women and Ghosts is a stunning and spare account of the female characters in various Shakespearean plays partially written from the perspectives of the characters themselves—Ophelia, Cleopatra, Desdemona, and others. The other voices that make up the book include a critic, a playwright, actors, and a female speaker who seems to take on the persona of the contemporary poet herself. This contemporary speaker recounts a relationship where a man dominates her, and this story is multiplied back across all of Shakespeare’s female characters, which were of course in similar situations themselves. In other words—the chorus of female voices silencing, shouting, and stuffing this famous man’s words is impressive.

The book physically appears to be ghosted—most of the text is printed in a light grayscale that may be difficult for some to read. A few, fragile words rise to the surface of the page. Some phrases are crossed out, especially in the opening section, “Daylight Has Already Come” and the two later sections, “Essays on Production” and “Essays on Props.” Darling also keeps her favorite props close here in Women and Ghosts. Fans of her work from books like X Marks the Dress and Fortress will recognize the “good” silver, flowers, fine china, and lush John Singer Sargent-like fabrics, particularly described in women’s dresses, that dot this landscape.

Darling’s work owes a great deal to Jen Bervin's trailblazing book, Nets, a collection of erasure poems using the source text of Shakespeare’s sonnets, but Darling extends outward from this. Women and Ghosts shows us an author whose critical and creative sides meet at a rocky confluence. Aside from the critical sections, the book reads as part narrative and part performance. The duality exists most obviously in the “Women and Ghosts” section where Shakespearean scenes are summarized briefly and below, a different story is told in the footnotes. For example, the summary of Othello’s final scene simply reads, “Othello ends when Desdemona is smothered and left for dead.” However, in the footnote, the speaker wonders, “If I can act like a girl who just fell in love. Maybe then I will be able to speak” (29). This quote could be looked at as a summary of the summary. It’s conceivable that Desdemona would have this thought as her husband smothered her. It seems more likely, however, that the poet/speaker is channeling Desdemona in her own contemporary life.





 
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Un/Wired by Stephen Bett reviewed in Subterranean Blue Poetry

 

Un/Wired, post-modernist Canadian Satire from the West Coast.


Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: Un/Wired

Author: Stephen Bett

Publisher: BlazeVOX

Date of Publication: 2016

Pages: 121


“Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life.”
- from Dropkick Me Jesus by Bobby Bare


Un/Wired is the 18th book of poetry by celebrated Canadian Poet Stephen Bett, is a distinctly Vancouver, West Coast Canadian event, a Poet’s sid criminy. He has been widely published internationally and his personal papers are being archived at Simon Fraser University. He is a newly retired college professor and lives in British Columbia with his wife Katie. This is the third book of poetry This Writer has reviewed for Poet Bett, the first two being Sound Off: a book of jazz and Breathing Arizona.

This book is largely a satire on culture, a sendup of the common man, the unthinking, the state of the unconscious violence of the Western World that feeds into the monied corporate elite. As if the common man is sitting alone in the middle of a vacant lot wondering what just happenned. Un/Wired breaks new ground, trashing sacred cows with a wink and a promise.

The Poet’s roots are in the protest movement of the Hippies and the 1960’s with the Beat Poet’s coming to the fore. In the satire pieces it is as if he is wearing a mask, portraying some good ol’ boy in the shop, somewhat reminiscent of a more sophisticated Charlie Farquharson, a comedic character invented by Canadian Comedian/Writer/Actor Don Harron and portrayed on stage and in books.

“Corporate Verbs On Hold

“We are leveraging our core competencies
to meet our customers [sic] needs [sic!].
Anon.

Can you ballpark that low-end little hanky-pank toy for me?
Yes, done, & I’ll stick it up yr third base.

Can you dialogue on this lefty-lucy screwed up itsy-bitsy nutball for me?
Surely can, I’ll break it down in threads & boot it over your discretely stained lover-lie logbook, little puss.

Could you dis ambiguate this foamy wet freakin’ frontal screen for me?
Yes, surely I’ll spank it right through your wide open tailgate, little beav’.

Will you facilitate this toxic little bo-jingle-jangle wrangled wrinkle for me?
Yo (& yo again) I’ll wax your face up stiff & botox your wee mouth shut.

Won’t you pul-ease ideate this knotty smokin’ cracker-jacked idee fixe for me?
No can do, I’ll just toss it in your thought-box to ripple rot, little bindipper . . . “

The Poet plays with language, sometimes inventing new words, tangles and repeats words, dangles words in escarpment, an event. Most of the poetry is short tight sentences, minimalist, turning the words in on themselves with an edge of humor, a sawed off shotgun delivery, a projection of the violent culture. A jazz beat. “a bar, a bar, a bar . . . a bar harbour”

“Brought to You By . . .

You use a product to wash out the grey
you get laid

You eat a slo-fry soul food
you get laid

You buy a so badass Euro-zone car
you get laid

Drink a snappy nafty micro brewski
you get laid

Swallow a lil’ lite blue pill
you get laid (repeatedly)

You watch co’mmercial after co’mmercial
you get laid (& laid)

Jesus,
you get
fecking
laid”

The book has a fantastical blue, black and white cover with binary numbers. It is divided into 4 chapters, “Pre-Wired”, “Soft-Wired”, “Hard-Wired” and “Un-Wired”. Reading the book cover to cover, it starts slow and builds into a crescendo. Beginning with satire and then in the last chapter some love poetry that highlights the emotional violence of having had too many lovers. Themes include, his grown children, his wife, the Internet, gun violence, corporate America, jazz music, American politics and culture, world politics and more.

There are at least 3 poems that touch on gun violence in the United States, a send up of the not too smart politics/attitudes that perpetuates a war culture, “Some Forms of Insanity are Instantly Insaner than Others”, “A-muricondo.edu” and “April 12th Another Day in Cleveland”. In the United States a significant number of people are murdered by gun violence; in 2013, 33,169 died by gun violence (excluding death by legal intervention).

“Some Forms of Insanity are Instantly Insaner than Others

The NRA back in the dark
& dusky shadows again
after the latest massacre
in the U.S. of A Minus
(twenty 5 & 6 year olds):

Guns don’t kill people;
People kill people!

Here’s your upgraded semi-
automatic 100 round per
nano-second bumper sticker
for folksy woodsmen &
wigged-out 2nd Amendment
minutemen pro-tectors:

People with guns kill people,
stupid

And for all the young & wacked-out
gun totin’ American-o desperad-o
shooters out there let’s update
another lil’ “teacher certified”
Sartrified bumper sticker
for y’all . . .

Hell is – other people’s
children”

I once had a conversation with a friends older brother when in high school that went something like this, I said, “Who needs to buy a gun, if they’re not hunters, hunting animals, who would need a gun?” He said, “People buy guns because they’re going to kill people . . come on” and he looked at me as if I was stupid. And I looked at him in my naive green teenage youth and thought he was insane and indeed if this was true the world was insane. “what did this mean?” Thirty-five years later with a better understanding of the cultural malaise and “the cult of ego”, I have a better understanding of why, but I still think the violence of the United States is insane.

A subtle, raw edge, jazz to jazz in the N.A. street. A fantastical work of post-modernist satire exposing the bones of the violent Western malaise in an exciting evolution of the Beat Poet tradition, Un/Wired by Stephen Bett.

Read the whole review here 

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Photos on flickr