Saturday, July 19, 2008



Two Hats Appear When Applauded by Raymond Farr
(Dusie, 2007)

Occasion in the Mosaic Distance by Paul Klinger
(Dusie, 2007)

[from SLOT (to pull an historical site form you)] by Jill Magi
(Dusie, 2007)

Specimen by Marci Nelligan
(Dusie, 2007)

Insect Country (B) by Sawako Nakayasu
(Dusie, 2007)

Souvenirs by Bronwen Tate
(Dusie, 2007)

- Farr, Raymond - Two Hats Appear When Applauded
What does a hat reveal about its wearer? Look at the clues. Instructions for reading this improvisation are embedded in the text. A traditional chapbook--I had the impression while reading it that the poem was too small for the chapbook. None of the text went beyond half a page. But, perhaps, those are the two hats. One hat "the bourgeois hat," as the poem begins, and the second, the hat of the imagination, the "real chapeau." And, I suppose, if we are to go about wearing two hats, one would naturally be larger so as to encompass the other.

- Klinger, Paul - Occasion in the Mosaic Distance
A small, creatively designed chapbook in which everything works well together, particularly within the chapbook form. Raised capitalization throughout the text hearkens Emily Dickinson, enjambment creates new images, and the unusual spelling of some words suggests a sort of neo-archaic language which ultimately feels modern.
matters left behind the half
illumined slant. in the long
window moved Ruin.

mincing Among the columns,
staid brown mist, drest parts
ting'd with Iris "My fault,"

This excerpt doesn't do the poem justice as the words occupy the width of a page. From the title, its promise of what we assemble with our vision, to the beautiful cover images of what look like thistles and the cryptic "Jennie" centerfold of what appears to be a gravestone, this is the present mosaic.

- Magi, Jill - [from SLOT (to pull an historical site form you)]
This chapbook consists of one tri-folded sheet of paper. The title is striking as is the look of the poem, each line enclosed within [brackets]. The poem is arranged in thin sections prompting both vertical and horizontal associations. Many of the words are broken, prompting freer associations:
[a slit in the prob-                   of rep-                   ]

[christia-                   pull the mat-                   ]

[-ter and de-                   prey up-                   ]

But what do these manipulations suggest? The poem is a kind of ladder to climb upon, each line resembling a kind of rung. There are empty spaces or slots on many of the rungs. The reader feels obligated to put something in the space, to complete or be a part of the text.

- Nelligan, Marci - Specimen
Before I began reading this chapbook, I smelled it. Clearly made by hand with it's hole-punched brad-binding and hand-cut pages, I wanted to see if I could smell the circumstances of the chapbook's assembly. It took time to make this. Although introductory notes mentioned the random combination of text from "The Origin of the Species" and the "Old Testament," it was clear from the first few lines that it was a much more deliberate arrangement:
Today your nervous filaments
reflect an account of me
at every step
a multitude
I have served you large bodies of facts,
I found in your eye
an optic nerve.

This opening leaves no question about the trajectory of the poem. The process has a function. It filters what is found and provides its reflection.

- Nakayasu, Sawako - Insect Country (B)
A sense of play was almost immediately apparent upon tearing open this chapbook when it arrived, the front and back covers adorned with strange insect drawings and the envelope made from the recycled advertisement for a gallery exhibition. A mini chapbook, here form and content are working hand-in-hand brilliantly, not only within the individual poems but also as a collection, the different poems representing, for example, the segmented abdomen of an ant. These humorous poems use the insect motif to great effect for it's clear that insects are not the only creatures crawling over every square inch of this planet.

- Tate, Bronwen - Souvenirs
A broken ankle is a good premise for a play... The days that
followed were pretty much the same.

And so the poems play. Based on the author's journals, this collection of prose poems offers various glimpses of Italy and Italian things, the titles of each poem serving as souvenir placemarkers of the adventure. Currently residing in Italy, I was very interested in this chapbook. It documents the "discovery and then progression" of living in a different culture, a discovery impossible for a tourist to make. A discovery embedded in the narrator's longing and dream for her former life and family, in conflict with a different language and culture, as well as the romantic image of the mythical place.


Bob Marcacci didn't give a bio; but he was reviewed in the last issue HERE.


EILEEN said...

Another view of INSECT COUNTRY (B) by Sawako Nakayasu is offered by Nicholas Grider in GR #7 at:

Bob said...

sweet! i believe these reviews are all 100 words, exactly, too!


EILEEN said...

I agree -- I much appreciated the 100-word constraint to doing the reviews...


EILEEN said...

Another view of Raymond Farr’s TWO HATS APPEAR WHEN APPLAUDED: AN IMPROVISATION is offered by Genevieve Kaplan in GR #17 at

EILEEN said...

Another view of INSECT COUNTRY (B) -- and the larger work of which it is part, THE ANTS -- by Sawako Nakayasu is offered by Eileen Tabios in GR#22 at