Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Two No Tell Book Reviews

In the new issue of Open Letters Jeffrey Eaton reviews Shafer Hall's Never Cry Woof:

If Hall likes to elevate the ordinary, in other poems he does the opposite, presenting a deadpan acceptance of the totally weird. In these poems he is quietly introspective, but the calm of his introspection is almost entirely overshadowed by the details of the offbeat and rough world he depicts. In “Brooklyn Aubade” we are gently reminded that at breakfast “egg creams and jellybeans are sustenance too.” His treatment of the typically sad cliché of the couple heard arguing through thin apartment walls is not just easygoing acceptance, but absolute ownership – it is an unassumingly natural feature of his world.

and PF Potvin's The Attention Lesson:

Potvin’s poems are generally written in whole sentences. He does not often rely on traditional poetic techniques, rather he employs two seemingly homebrewed techniques (apologies to James Joyce) for manipulating his tempo. The first is to conjoin two words, such as “elephantmasked,” “shookstill,” and “downswooping,” and the second is to eliminate the second word in a word pair when the omitted word is obvious. Supplying the missing words in brackets you get “sneak [attack],” “merrygo [round]” and “pave[ment]”. The conjunction of words serves to quicken the pace of reading while the omission of words creates a mental stumble that retards it. Both moves come across as playful and off hand, which is refreshing given the weightiness of his political and character-building content.

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