Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sacramento. Very Late at Night. James Lee Jobe, reviewed by BL Kennedy

Sacramento. Very Late at Night.
James Lee Jobe

little m press
Sacramento, CA
20 pgs

A Life, Maybe This One

On the Yuba River there is a pool that I love to visit,
lime green, pale, cool and deep, so beautiful
when lit by a golden summer sun. A slip of a trail
follows the river to this pool, through sweet pines
and Manzanita, bush lupine, wood fern, and poppies
that glow in the afternoon light. Woodpeckers hard at work,
darting lizard that lick the air with a hopeful attitude,
and the occasional skunk all come this way.
Walking slowly to the pool, I don’t even break a sweat.
There is no one else for miles. I strip down
and dive into a green, ghostly world all my own,
not even a fish is there to share it. I am without beginning
or end, timeless. I could leave this body if I so choose.
“I don’t even need to breathe,” I think, as kick
and paddle, and pull myself deeper and deeper.

The poetry from James Lee Jobe seems to be as direct as a clean game of 8 ball. Can’t explain what it is. I personally have known the poet since 1996. I’ve watched his growth and maturity in the art of the poetic voice. Of that voice, I can simply say that here, invoked, is a lush collection of dark and light images, of ghostly worlds that seem to leave the body looking for another voice. With these poems, I can feel the poet breathe. I can feel the poet pull my soul deeper and deeper into his.

The poems in this collection by little m press, are, simply put, nourishment for the brain, nourishment to awake you very late at night. To take a moonlight peep into the world as it happens, to name you in its chant of AWAKE! AWAKE! This is the wide world of a life lived at the very edge of night. Awake and feel the power of these words run up your thighs liked crazed monkeys. This is the work of James Lee Jobe, and this collection is hands down one of the finest chapbook collections that I have had the opportunity to encounter within the past year. And hey, man, at three bucks, where can you go wrong? I ask you with my heart wide open, where can you go wrong? So get off your ass and travel to the edge of this poet’s mind. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be surprised at the beauty you will find.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Video experiment in synchronicity

An experiment in synchronicity, featuring the ceiling of my short term apartment in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Music by Heavy Metal Vampires on Nuclear Waste. Influenced by Joseph Campbell and Yoko Ono.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rhapsody for Lessons Learned or Remembered by Georgia Ann Banks-Martin, reviewed by BL Kennedy

Rhapsody for Lessons Learned or Remembered
Georgia Ann Banks-Martin

Plain View Press
Austin, TX
77 pgs
ISBN: 978-1-935514-64-0

The Persistence of Time

The only difference between
Me and a madman
Is that I’m not mad.
I see it as it is.
Flattened, forced into circular forms
divided into two.
One whose face is always pale, deflated.
Forever, tasked with rearranging
the debris of memory.
Bury the massive body of the platypus
clearing the way so the future
can peel from its casing
and fall as a seed to the earth.

Being a book reviewer is not an easy task. Half the time, you’re waiting for books to come in the mail for publishers to review. Sometimes, they come; sometimes, they don’t. Then, when they arrive, you read them and keep your http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.giffingers crossed that you have a treasure. In the case of case of Rhapsody For Lessons Learned Or Remembered, I truly wanted this to be an outstanding collection, but to my dismay, the collection as a whole did not hold up. That is not to say that Georgia Ann Banks-Martin is not a talented writer; there are some very good poems in the collection. It’s just that the collection is too big, and the more seasoned poems do not outweigh the poems that need work. So, I wish I could highly recommend this collection, but in all honesty I can’t. So, I leave it up to you, the reader, to decide whether or not you want to invest in this particular well-written but not well-thought-out collection of poetry.

Available on Amazon.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

XXIII Epistles by Erik Vatne, reviewed by BL Kennedy

XXIII Epistles
Erik Vatne

graffitti kolkata
Hollywood, CA
31 pgs


The Eternal Teenager (Phrase It
Wrong (so we can read it
I’m seeing words inside under other words
Hidden words (embedded
Karaoke codes lip synched to death-bed applause signs
Like stations of the cross
In Carvaggio’s crotch rot

I was born in the wrong body

This suffices for the Replies to the Objection.

This little treat came in the mail and caught me totally unaware. In other words, I REALLY like this book, and I LOVE the poetry in it! It’s short, to the point, and never loses the reader in its compositions. The poet Erik Vatne writes out of Englewood, New Jersey. I find his work to be somewhat of a treat. The poet has the ability, to (how do I wanna say this?) put a spell on the reader. This collection is no cheap magic trick of verse.

We have a serious voice here that needs to be heard. So if you have a chance to invest four dollars in a copy of Mr. Vatne’s work, I strongly urge you to do so. It’s always a treat when you get a book in the mail and you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed these Epistles. So, get off your butt, run out and purchase a copy.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Scuff Mud, experimental performance CDs

If you like experiments with words, aurally, you will like this.

Scuff Mud is a project begun by Eckhard Gerdes and Shelf Life in 2006 and completed early in 2007 under the aegis of Bryan Day and under the auspices of the Journal of Experimental Fiction.

Eckhard Gerdes (born 1959) is an American novelist and editor. He earned his MFA in creative writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is the author of six published novels: Projections [1986, Depth Charge Press] Ring in a River [1989, Depth Charge Press] Truly Fine Citizen [1992, Highlander Press] Cistern Tawdry [2002, Fugue State Press] Przewalski's Horse [2007, Red Hen Press] The Million-Year Centipede; or, Liquid Structures [2007, Raw Dog Screaming Press] and two more due out shortly: The Unwelcome Guest [2007, Six Gallery Press] Nin and Nan [2007, Six Gallery Press] His work, often darkly humorous, frequently crosses boundaries of fictional technique, ignoring time, space, cause and effect at will, in the service of stories of individuals struggling to transcend fear and limitation. Noteworthy reviews of his work have appeared in Rain Taxi, Notre Dame Review, Dream People and Review of Contemporary Fiction among many others. Eckhard Gerdes is the editor of The Journal of Experimental Fiction, a series of books often consisting of ambitious Festschrifts on a single writer (e.g. John Barth, Raymond Federman, Harold Jaffe). He has also written on modern and post-modern literature for American Book Review, Review of Contemporary Fiction, Hyde Park Review of Books, and other magazines. His novel "White Bungalows" was a finalist for the Starcherone Prize. For "Cistern Tawdry," Gerdes was nominated for Georgia Author of the Year in the Fiction Category. Gerdes has twice been the recipient of the Richard Pike Bissell Creative Writing Award, is listed in Cohttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifntemporary Authors, 2000 Outstanding Writers of the 20th Century, International Authors and Writer's Who's Who, and Who's Who in Writers, Editors, and Poets, and is a member of PEN USA and AWP. He lives in the Chicago area; he has three children.

Bryan Day is the man behind Shelf Life and not only runs the Public Eyesore label but is an avid instrument builder and tape manipulator.

Available on Amazon.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Spare Parts and Dismemberment by Josh Fernandez, reviewed by BL Kennedy

Spare Parts and Dismemberment
Josh Fernandez

R.L. Crow Publications
Penn Valley, CA
71 pgs
ISBN: 978-0-9722958-5-7

Visiting My Sister at Sunset

In the grainy evening
I walk towards your grave,
but it feels unlawful
to be here.

I half expect
the groundskeeper
to chase me off.
I worry
I’ve offended
the unwritten tenets
of the cemetery,
have broken
its sacred membrane
of silence.

All I can do is try
to watch my footing,
avoid stepping
on the gas
and walk gently
over the dead.

The first time I saw Josh Fernandez read his poetry at Luna’s Café in Sacramento, CA, I was somewhat knocked out. I thought here was a young talent that I could get behind. Granted, he was rough around the edges and a little loud, but he was focused on the audience and had a very unique command of the space.

Now comes Josh Fernandez’s first collection of poetry Spare Parts and Dismemberment from R.L. Crow publications and it is lyrical to the point and totally focused in its execution and narrative. In other words, I really enjoyed reading this collection. I don’t particularly care for everything that R.L. Crow publishes, but this book is an exception.

From the very first poem “After Watching Maya Angelou on the Oprah Winfrey Show”, where the poet is first discovering his voice, to the last poem in the book “My Grandmother”, where the poet has not only found his voice but has assimilated it in a beautiful and well rendered execution of image and word, Josh Fernandez’s Spare Parts and Dismemberment is a very entertaining and speculative read.

As a poet, I enjoy Fernandez and his work. I enjoy his over the top sense of humor, his flirtatious attitude towards language, and his movement on stage as he is reading the poems. I seriously believe that I have watched this young writer bloom even beyond my expectations. Here is a young voice of tough insight and mismatched genius; a voice not frightened to say its say across the landscape of the page. Fernandez is a poet who talks the talk, does not pull his punches, and definitely does not shoot from the hip. He is a young poet who is very comfortable in his owhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifn skin, and I am proud to have the opportunity to review this book, to comment on this young and talented voice.

So, get off your ass, get outta that line at McDonald’s (the burger will wait), and let’s face it, that pizza you ordered is going to be late, so don’t worry about it. Go to your nearest local bookstore, Amazon.com, or whatever you’re gonna, and secure a copy of this book. You will not regret it.

Available on Amazon.

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