Monday, January 30, 2012

The Accidental Navigator by Henry Denander, reviewed by BL Kennedy






The Accidental Navigator

Henry Denander
Lummox Press
San Pedro, CA
125 pgs
$15.00
ISBN: 978-929878-88-8







The Last Stanza

I had a letter from a magazine saying he
passed on my poems, which is fine of course, but
in the end he added that he really liked one of my
poems up to the last stanza which he didn’t like
at all.

I liked the letter from the editor
except his last stanza.



Let me say this right up front; Henry Denander is one of my favorite poets. I know-- I know what you’re going to say. A book reviewer should be objective and not play the favorites card. But you know what? I need to ask the readers how one reviews a book of poetry that comes from the heart. Truth is, I loved reading these poems. It was like taking a trip back to my days at Naropa. For in these poems I saw the lyrical explorations and conversational idioms of some of my teachers such as Anselm Hollo, Ed Sanders, Andrew Shelling, and Robert Creeley. Simply put, I consider Henry Denander a master poet.

The bad side is that this wonderful collection of new and selected poems and a story was published by Lummox Press, a press that, in the past, has given me great trouble over reviewing their books. In fact, I almost did not review this book because of the pushiness of this particular press. But, once I opened it up and read the poems, it became a different story. These new poems of Henry Denander were striking and filled with beautiful narrative. I simply could not put the book down. As I’ve already pointed out, Denander is a master poet. What really struck me about this wonderful collection is that it opens up with an introductory statement not by Denander, but by that master poet in Cleveland, Tom Kryss. Now, understand why this is significant: the fact that Tom Kryss wrote this introductory statement brings Denander’s writings to a new light, at least for me. It has a connection with the Cleveland poetry scene started by d.a. levy. Up until now, I never saw Henry Denander as a member of the mimeograph revolution, and he probably isn’t. But because of these beautiful introductory notes by Tom Kryss, he is now, at least in my mind, a member of that rebel school of underground poets.

So let’s finish this up. I ain’t shootin from the hip when I tell you to get off your butts and don’t go to your bookstore, because most bookstores do not purchase Lummox Press. So order this wonderful collection of poetry by a man who I consider the newest member of the Living Underground.

1 comment:

T. L. said...

Dear Gypsy Art Show,

What's really sad and kinda pathetic about your review is that you've devoted more space to taking potshots at Lummox Press and talking about the importance of Tom Kryss than you've devoted to Henry Denander and his book. What happens, I wonder, to your review when we remove all the filler?

"I loved reading these poems. It was like taking a trip back to my days at Naropa. For in these poems I saw the lyrical explorations and conversational idioms of some of my teachers such as Anselm Hollo, Ed Sanders, Andrew Shelling, and Robert Creeley. Simply put, I consider Henry Denander a master poet.

These new poems of Henry Denander were striking and filled with beautiful narrative. I simply could not put the book down."

Six sentences. That's it. And for anyone, like myself, who's never read "Anselm Hollo, Ed Sanders, Andrew Shelling, and Robert Creeley," your review offers nothing whatsoever to help me and others decide whether or not we'd like the book.

Maybe in the future you should consider keeping your potshots in the sandbox (or at least in private correspondence) where they belong and concentrating on book material in your reviews. The great irony here is that you've done an injustice to Henry Denander, a writer who's work you obviously admire and respect. You've completely negated the positive message of your review by dragging his name through the mud of your trash talking.

Well done! Bravo!

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