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Friday, August 26, 2016
FAIR DAY IN AN ANCIENT TOWN, poetry that's *saturated* with yearning
FAIR DAY IN AN ANCIENT TOWN: Poems
GREG ALLENDORF (Mineral Point Poetry Series #3)
Brain Mill Press
$14.95 trade paper & eBook bundle, available now
Rating: 3.5* of five
The Publisher Says: It’s April now, complains Allendorf’s speaker, and still no desperate gift of unreturned yearning.
The poems of Fair Day in An Ancient Town subvert the glorious, Romantic pastoral into a voice easy to imagine as Walt Whitman’s darkly clever younger brother. The object of affection is fake-tanned and an idiot but still crashes a dozen lush masturbatory fantasies—or the speaker and his lover meet as shepherds only to eat M&Ms and abandon each other on bingo night. O, the way his mouth confounded me / and folded on my mouth there in the fold, slyly sings one of Allendorf’s shepherd’s songs, O, the glory of his hairy arms, / the way they lit my eyes a little then.
Layering complex form, rhyme, and craft over lush horniness and hard wit, Allendorf effortlessly upends romantic poetry and exposes it to the twenty-first century. This is a collection to make the reader laugh out loud and think deep—and then find a way to be alone under the covers.
**BRAIN MILL PRESS PROVIDED ME WITH THIS REVIEW COPY AT MY REQUEST. THANK YOU!**
My Review: Alone hell! This collection could honestly be subtitled, "Inducements to Cruise for Action"! "I'll paint the memory/of you on my closed coffin lid and lard/my arteries with your untamed beauty." That's some hot longing goin' on there.
Kiki Petrosino edits these collections of work by poets from the middle of America, but does not find middlin' poets. This signed copy, #18 of 100, is a lovely object to hold as well as a pleasure of a trove to read. I'll give you a whole poem as a sample of the aesthetic at work here:
Never so great the shiftlessness. The rest
of the night, I'll stare into the wall
and think a poem about alcohol.
I'll write about the luxury that's failed
me so far this month. It's April now,
and still no desperate gift of unreturned
yearning. Usually, I'm writing reams
of crushy ones each day. Lush, bitter birds
that soar into the window one by one.
I just can't muster it. They hurt me some,
the poems and their people, all the pearl
of torture. I confess, I am afraid;
It's hard to sleep without a tiny veil
of pain to puff with breath and call a sail.
You'll find this to your taste, or not; but the collection is well represented by this poem, so make your purchasing decisions accordingly.