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Your Own Back Yard – Michael Gillan Maxwell

Visual Art – Creative Writing – Social Commentary

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poetry

To Do List

To Do List

Before enlightenment

Haul water Chop wood

After enlightenment

Haul water Chop wood

In between

Haul ass

Mister Paul
Mr. Paul

MGM

Summer Solstice 2016

From North Beach

North Beach (1)

Like Quicksand

We walk the streets of North Beach
follow the footsteps of Ferlinghetti
and the ghosts of Ginsberg and Kerouac.
In Washington Square Park,
under St. Peter and Paul’s twin spires,
an old hippie sits on a bench,
finger picks a vintage Epiphone guitar.

Next to him, another man
stares off into space,
cradles his mandolin, listens.
Joe Dimaggio marries Marilyn Monroe
in that church, she lifts her veil,
steals a kiss on the granite steps;
here in Joe’s home town.

Italian restaurants and coal fired pizza,
storied nightclubs and tattoo parlors,
psychic readers, butchers, bakers
and kite makers.
The City Lights Bookstore
stands like a shrine, a beacon.
Ground zero for a revolution.

A man lies fast asleep on the ground, under
a sparkling, golden sky and a pile of clothes
in the middle of the afternoon.
Some changes happen before we notice,
others sneak by under our noses,
but Time, a slow train runnin’
creeps up like quicksand.

Guest Reviewer Sarah Lilius Reviews “The Burn Poems” by Lynn Strongin

MadHat Drive-by Book Reviews is pleased to welcome Guest Reviewer Sarah Lilius who offers us her review of Lynn Strongin’s latest collection: “The Burn Poems,” published by Headmistress Press.
http://madhatarts.com/madhatreviews/

The Burn Poems front

Review of This Wasted Land by Marc Vincenz on Heavy Feather Review

My review of This Wasted Land by Marc Vincenz annotated by Tom Bradley is published on Heavy Feather Review. 

Thanks to Jason Teale for publishing my review.

http://heavyfeatherreview.com/2015/03/24/this-wasted-land-by-marc-vincenz/

this-wasted-land

Book Review: We’ll See Who Seduces Whom: a graphic ekphrastic in verse by Tom Bradley and David Aronson

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Book Review: We’ll See Who Seduces Whom: a graphic ekphrastic in verse
by Tom Bradley and David Aronson
is now live at:
http://madhatarts.com/madhatreviews/

wellseewhoseduceswhomcover

MadHat Drive-By Book Reviews: Tollbooth and Everything Neon by Bud Smith

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Reviews of two books by Bud Smith, his novel, Tollbooth and poetry collection, Everything Neon are LIVE on MadHat’s Drive-Bye Book Reviews. Drop by and check ’em out!

http://madhatarts.com/madhatreviews/

Tollbooth

everything-neon

Book Review: Like a Beggar by Ellen Bass

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My review of Like a Beggar by Ellen Bass is up on MadHat Drive-By Reviews.

http://madhatarts.com/madhatreviews/book-review-like-a-beggar-by-ellen-bass/

Cover Like a Beggar

 

MadHat Drive-By Book Reviews: Three Works by Robert Vaughan

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My review of Robert Vaughan’s books: “Microtones,” “Diptychs+Triptychs+Lipsticks+Dipshits” and “Addicts & Basements” is live on MadHat’s Drive-By Book Reviews at:

http://madhatarts.com/madhatreviews/three-works-by-robert-vaughan/

Book Review ~ Beautiful Rush by Marc Vincenz

Beautiful Rush by Marc Vincenz

Unlikely Books ~ 2014 ~ 88 pages ~ Poetry

Marc Vincenz brings us his sixth collection of poems with Beautiful Rush, an elegiac, poignant and sparkling collection of twenty seven lyrical poems that seduces, tantalizes, mystifies, testifies, and transmogrifies. Symmetrically balanced and impeccably arranged, this subtly complex book is organized into three nearly equal sections: A Bitter Taste Of Midnight, Voices Breaking, and How To Die Of Beauty; with two of my favorite poems, Not the Last Word and Cassandra’s Smoke serving as a prelude to the first section. Kimberly L. Becker provides the Foreword and j/j hastain, the Afterword. Exquisitely restrained cover and interior art (Moth) is rendered by Inga Maria Brynjarsdottir.

The sections are linked by a titular series of six poems, Beautiful Rush (I-VI) that appear in each section. The mysterious muse, Cassandra, also unifies the collection with appearances at the beginning, the end and at various places throughout the book. Repeated references to a lost daughter leave me wondering and aching with a vaguely definable and tender sadness.

Marc Vincenz invokes the spirits of other poets, philosophers and places through various poems in the collection; August Kleinzahler and William Burroughs in Small Change, Emily Dickinson in Cassandra Knows How To Die Of Beauty, Joseph Campbell in A Bitter Taste Of Midnight; and dedications to Katia Kapovich and the city of Zug, Switzerland in Rembrandt’s Last Fruit and Almost Tax Free, respectively.

The poems in Beautiful Rush are part celebration, part excavation; ode to beauty and contemplation of the temporal through the inexorable passage of time. They are spiritual litanies and totems of rag and bone, evocative of the shaman’s rattle and drum. “Ancient bone music/ skin songs/ and marrowed incantations.”

The poems in Beautiful Rush are sometimes not of this world and at others very much of the earth; with sensory language that sets the imagination soaring ~

(from) A Bitter Taste Of Midnight

The resonance of reality.

                        The rapture of being alive.

                                    The meaning of a flea.

                                                A moth without a light bulb.

                                                            An aphid without a rose.

                                    What can’t be known.

 (from) To Watch A Flower Bloom

To watch a flower bloom

or a cloud fatten may nearly impossible

but how do you distinguish movement away

from or toward the growth of billowing form

and, at other times, leaves your toes rooted firmly in the ground.

(from) Cassandra’s Smoke

            in a park,

                        where old fools battle

                                    crickets and compare,

                                    bird feathers

where dogs shit and rut,

            where artists seek the ears

of trees and pansies

            and crumbling brick –

(from) An Abundance Of Islands

–a language called stillness, a child

called language. Grandfather’s war scars.

Mother’s tuberculosis—coughing at the edge

 

of the bed, a jackknife, stray sock, a cup

of ice cold tea. Lemon rind. And she, paper,

the ancient carbon backbone crumpled.

This may sound naïve, but, until recently, I never truly appreciated, or really tried that hard to understand the various ways poets experiment with formatting their poems as they appear on the page. I thought it didn’t matter that much. If the poems were meant to be read aloud anyway, then the visual effect of the formatting seemed to be a moot point. However, lately, my thinking has really changed. I think my attitude toward this has changed perhaps most significantly while reading Beautiful Rush.

Beautiful Rush is a beautiful book to read. The poems in Beautiful Rush are meticulously and deliberately formatted and arranged. Words, phrases, idioms and lines all dance around on the white space of the page. The intentional formatting affects how the poem reads off the page, enhances its timbre and rhythm and brings it closer to the way it might sound when recited aloud by the poet. Enjambments and line breaks play a critical role in both the visual and aural effect, like sight reading musical notation.

Beautiful Rush is not a “one and done” read. It actually has kind of an operatic quality. It reminds me of listening to an album (we used to call them that back in the day) over and over. It takes a few times through for the music, lyrics and meaning to really start to sink in. The poems do not reveal their meanings on the surface. They are multi-layered, multi-textured and subtly nuanced. An invitation to a personal scavenger hunt for classical and linguistic references that challenge and stretch the imagination.

Poetry is a multi-faceted thing. It’s about language and meaning, song and music, image and interpretation. Poetry offers the reader a glimpse inside the head and heart of the poet, but also an invitation to look inside one’s own head and heart. A good poem leaves room for interpretation and the opportunity to make that poem one’s own. And, like climbing to the top of a hill, the more you see, you realize the more there is to see. The poems in Beautiful Rush deliver on all counts.

“you hear voices

in hard labor,

and behind closed rooms,

you hear something like knowledge,

clearing its throat.”

 Marc Vincenz ~ Biographical Information

Marc Vincenz, born in Hong Kong, is Swiss-British. In addition to Beautiful Rush, his recent collections include: The Propaganda Factory, or Speaking of Trees (Spuyten Duyvil, 2011); Gods of a Ransacked Century (Unlikely Books, 2013); Mao’s Mole (Neopoiesis Press, 2013), and a meta-novel, Behind the Wall at the Sugar Works (Spuyten Duyvil, 2013). A new English-German bi-lingual collection, Additional Breathing Exercises was released by Wolfbach Verlag, Zurich (2014); a book-length poem, This Wasted Land and its Chymical Illuminations, annotated by Tom Bradley is forthcoming in April 2105 Lavender Ink; and a new collection, Becoming the Sound of Bees (Ampersand Books, 2015). He is the author of several chapbooks, has been published in dozens of anthologies and journals and is also the translator of numerous German-language poets. Marc Vincenz is Executive Editor of MadHat Annual (formerly Mad Hatters’ Review) and MadHat Press, Contributing Editor for Open Letters Monthly and Coeditor-in-Chief at Fulcrum: an anthology of poetry and aesthetics. In addition, he is Director of Evolution Arts, Inc. a non-profit organization that promotes independent presses and journals.

As always, I encourage you to go directly through the publisher.

Available from Unlikely Books at www.UnlikelyStories.org

Cover of Beautiful Rush

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