Identity feels likely.
. . . Or at least zany, un-re-
to a glare, a stamped ex-
haustion of fixture’s texture
lowlifeing in the local cut.
Through grafts of language we find the most secretive burrows of truth, the truth that is destined to hide, the truth that is destined to exist before, during, and after the iterated expression, the accepted, the understood. In Insolvency, Insolvency! there are poems demonstrative of the active though underlying/peripheral/subtextual truths that appear like glitches in the perfection of representation, like melting in the stasis of certainty. This language, a language that is wholly that of the poet and author of the text in question, Jeremy Hoevenaar, is one that moans with arousal, shivers with clandestine excess and morbid recession. It is a language of the computer-as-precipice-of-humanity. An epilogue to the Turing Test. A presumption of the intelligence that could model the authentic and the artificial at the same time. Hoevenaar’s work is crucial to the fabric of a world that exists too quickly to notice itself, yet is pinned to the wall like a tapestry, unmoving when unacknowledged and infinitely capable when acknowledged. A mandala for circuitry. A vortex for the contemporary subconscious, which knows itself through the tidal waves of information that plow it around like snow on asphalt. Insolvency, Insolvency! is a rattler, a fountain, a fulcrum of the engorged reality within which we live. When the poet says, “In a world that doesn’t see you, / your thoughts must welcome you” we hear the moments of Camus and the existentialists uproariously imbued with the digital.
Insolvency, Insolvency! by Jeremy Hoevenaar was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2017.
What the world needs
now are more clover bees
and stings, delicious stings.
Boys Quarter is a fantastic collection of poems by, for, and about the center of self that is the poet. It is a book that has fantastic implications on the daily life of the 21st century writer, the 21st century person, the 21st century social being. Chukwuma Ndulue provides nothing short of the ecstatic experience that is his daily life, and the mementos and curios that make up the images and contexts of these poems are extraordinarily honest. They reverberate with an honesty that is thorough, albeit at times disagreeable through Ndulue's own, humble privacies. But that quality of the deeply personal becomes, when collected and conformed to a book, a satisfaction of self, authenticity, and autonomy. Ndulue reinforces what he knows through life with what he knows through thought, synthesis, and a general brilliance towards a critical existence. The sense of the ugliness and most monstrous qualities of the world are regularly poked, jabbed, and also represented through the multitudinous voices that emerge (only to erupt) from poem to poem. A certain and exquisite ambiguity, the like of most poetry, faithfully serves the reader in supporting the construction of a dreamy, disconnected universe of consumption, love, and reconciliation. Boys Quarter, being imbued with a genuine, far-reaching attempt to showcase life as life, succeeds wonderfully in its world-building, and Ndulue intelligently captivates wholly throughout the book’s short duration.
Boys Quarter by Chukwuma Ndulue was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2017.
Hey little buddy. Hey bud. Hey buddy.
Brooklyn's Holly Melgard is astute, concentrated, and calculated. Her work in Catcall is driven by the power and effectiveness of performance. It directly addresses the problem of verbal harassment (specifically catcalling) by repositioning the problem to face (target) the anonymous man who would otherwise be in a position of power, in the position of the harasser. This is a polyvocal piece merging the actual act of catcalling (in a poetic variant) with the reflection/commentaries of those making the catcalls. It approaches this phenomenon as oppression and misogyny, and redirects the anticipated scenario so that the anonymous man, the target, at least in the text, becomes both the antagonist and protagonist of these situations, these stories, these narratives. Through moments of absurdist shock, the work succeeds in creating a perplexing, if not disturbing, scenario of revelation and bluntness. Catcall also reinforces what so many have known for so long but have been distanced from, blocked from, made numb to. The result is a work that utilizes language to embrace the problem as one needing addressing, while also exploring (through language) a more accessible way to talk about the issue of harassment as a whole. Though the book itself lacks description on the intent or inspiration for itself (which is, honestly, only slightly needed), the book succeeds to transform the reader to the place and time of the every-instant of these crises, these moments of violence. It is uplifting and exciting to see works like Melgard's created to reinforce an acknowledgment of and witness to the cruelty of the world we live within, that many otherwise do not actively respond to transform. Reading Melgard's work will, through its intense yet accessible experimentation, make the issue of harassment more relevant and approachable than the status quo paradigm.
Catcall by Holly Melgard was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2017.
What if I were a little
manufacturing plant of
New York’s Simone Kearney has written a book that is captivating. My Ida is captivating, drenching, charming, alarming. It returns to Gertrude Stein’s Ida, but goes beyond, personalizes it, brings the concept (and the concept’s concept, and the concept’s echo, reverberation, refraction) into a refreshed 2017 glance. The book is as much about Kearney as it is about an Ida that is acknowledged and explored by Kearney. It is as much about poetry and the poetic image, the poetic voice, as it is about the landscape of objects that could be, are, and will be before, with, and after us. As it is about the process, and the chance of process. My Ida is a book of self and a book of other, and it is also a book of ether, but it is also a book of all, which is where the captivation occurs. Demonstrative of play, demonstrative of affect, demonstrative of awareness, importance, elevation, My Ida is the sling that arms the shot, the tension of the band before the release. It is the envisioning of the funnel that emerges from the ceiling of sky to pour down and activate the landscape. It is the wing outstretched to absorb a generated current of air. It is, as per Kearney's choice, an onion. There is, in My Ida, a chance to explore what would otherwise be left behind, and thus a love for that exploration of which Stein would approve. Simone Kearney’s My Ida is the exerted glance that’s worth intercepting, worth returning, worth remembering.
My Ida by Simone Kearney was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2017.
All reviews by Greg Bem unless marked otherwise.
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