Rhapsodomancy by kevin mcpherson eckhoff (Coach House Books)
a mix of visual poems and text, optical illusions, translations; an exploration of symbols, graphic comic, whimsy and a chance to learn Unifon and Pitman Shorthand too.
i enjoy how this book makes me look at the alphabet again.
from the Afterword, about the Apantomancy section
“Apantomancy refers to divination through whatever objects lie at hand. These poems imagine a relationship between Shorthand and divination, which seeks to make sense of the world by reading for traces of heavenly knowledge within particular objects or action. The practices of Shorthand and divination seem to me analogous to those of the poet.”
my only complaint about this book is that i wanted more. but i find by going thru the book again and again, i am almost satisfied.
this seems like a daring publication for the current CHB. is it my imagination or has the poetry catalogue become more adventurous in the last year or so? there is Rachel Zolf’s Neighbourhood Procedure, for one, which i haven’t yet purchased but have heard her read parts of. a text that continues to resonate for me, in other words, i found it memorable.
Glenn Piano by Gladys Priddis by Jason Dickson (Book Thug)
this wee 6 x 9 publication from BookThug’s Department of Narrative Studies had me at Glenn Piano. what an intriguing character name and why didn’t i think of it? the design is molto bello and not that you should judge a book by its cover (but who doesn’t?)…this cover is gorgeous. back to the soft textured covers that i prefer not those glossy ones. personal taste i guess, but glossy covers make me think of those wretched self published books that are usually 700 pages long and talk about monsters in capital letters. but back to Glenn Piano by Gladys Priddis, both a mystery and a romance. the language is entertaining and the book harkens back to an earlier era of perhaps 18th century or 19th century romances? i don’t know. but it sounds good.
and then there is the text within the text, the poems of Gladys Priddis, which i enjoyed. her musings on water. perhaps feels like a parody perhaps just jejeune, but joyful too.
my only complaint is the attempt to reproduce cursive for Gladys’ poems. it is difficult to read, very difficult. i understand why it was done but with the tight spacing and the cursive, i struggled to read this bit.
The Little Seamstress by Phil Hall (Pedlar Press)
i have been a fan of Ph since I picked up An Oak Hunch (Brick Books, 2005), and then White Porcupine (Book Thug, 2007). not to forget the wee chappie The Bad Sequence (Book Thug, 2007). so it is no surprise that the Little Seamstress would appeal to me. Why? it is humble, no big enunciations; it is astonishing in places with gorgeous sound play and image play, and a whole bunch of humour. perhaps the Little Seamstress is my favourite so far of what i have read of Phil Hall. i love the rhythm and pacing in this book.
here’s a wee excerpt from the poem “Ylang.” you must buy this book to read more. and i am certain that you will buy it…
Inside your voice bees huddle honey behind a falls
Only I know where the hive is & why the cataracts smell of
Last night I dreamt that while I slept alone in the dark on
my back—uncovered—naked—with the fan on full-blast—my
short-hairs genuflecting to the winch of the snowstorm—you
kissed me—right where my pelvic bone juts for you to kiss it
i don’t think i have any complaints about this book at all. i plan to read it and the other Ph works again and search out more of his works also.
oh, and you must read this wonderful interivew Ph did with Beth Follett, publisher of Pedlar Press over at Open Book Toronto.
[i apologize for the link to amazon rather than to the publisher, but i cannot find a web site for Pedlar Press and i know that the books are distributed by LPG but that is one hellacious uninformative site, yikes.]
is this blog alive again? perhaps. that is the word of the day and the year.
a minor side note
Dear creators of art and workers of the word,
i hope that i am respectful to what you do. i hope that in my opination and exuberence, i do not dismiss your work as gibberish or call you huskers. that is not my intention. should i do so, you have my permission to abuse me with words but perhaps not with physical violence. i am no surrealist and not capable of wielding a sword. unlike Hemingway i do not look good in boxing gloves.