felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
My next item up for review is bill bisset's* volume of poetry narrativ enigma / rumours of hurricane. It will be my shortest review ever: It sucked.

Oh, I had high hopes. I actually like Canadian poetry. Back before Indigo eliminated it, I could often be found amidst the tumbleweeds and cobwebs in their Canadian poetry section, and spending more than I could afford on slender volumes of delicious verse. It's always been a joy to me: the rich rhythms of George Elliot Clarke, the bright playfulness of Irving Layton, the wry wisdom of Margaret Atwood, and the prophetic wisdom of Leonard Cohen.

(The novel is making a comeback. Why not poetry? Good poetry is condensed but powerful, so it should be the ideal literary form for a post-attention-span age.)

And I had high hopes for bisset. I've read some of his older stuff from the 1960s. It reads like gay porn in lolcat. Gay porn in lolcat - that's the internet right there, before the internet was. bill bisset invented the internet.

But if narrative enigma is any indication, I haven't been missing much all this time. It is awful. It is worse than awful, it is postmodern.

(See icon.)

It reads like something E.E.Cummings** gave birth to after a tawdry affair with William Carlos Williams in a seedy, bedbug-ridden motel than charged by the hour, after being told that the complete works of Michel Foucault were a reliable form of birth control. "So much depends on a goat-footed balloon man whose identity is socially determined," or something like that.***

There are occasionally pretty lucid moments, but its main redeeming feature is that some of the concrete poems look like Space Invaders.

So, yeah. Hopefully bisset lays off the poetry stuff for awhile, and goes back to his lab to invent the next internet. He'd better hurry, or Al Gore will beat him to it for reals this time.

* Yes, he does do his name like k.d. lang and bell hooks.
** However - contrary to popular belief, E.E. Cummings did not.
*** I loathe E.E. Cummings with a fiery passion. "Goat-footed balloon man" isn't bad, but I really despise "Buffalo Bill," which contains possibly the most insipid line in all of "great" English-language poetry: "how do you like your blue-eyed boy/Mister Death[?]" To which I feel the only good answer is "with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

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felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
felis_ultharus

September 2011

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