I’m lucky in that I get books sent to me for review and 2011 has been a great year regarding poetry; I was privileged to review Geoff Goodfellow’s Waltzing with Jack Dancer, Koraly Dimitriadis’, Love and Fuck Poems, the DVD anthology Memory: Video Poetry from Synaptic Graffiti Collective, and many other great titles.
However to pick a favourite, outside of the reviewing sphere, I would say Sean M Whelan’s, Love Don’t Live Here Anymore.
This single poem chapbook, “lustfully” illustrated by Melbourne artist Dyana Gray, is a wonderfully surreal psycho trip through 1980’s brat pack angst. The poem opens…
A person lives alone.
A person doesn’t live alone.
There are shops where you can buy loneliness.
There are restaurants where you can eat it.
It’s 1984. Sometimes I’m so self conscious, I don’t know
where my head starts and where my piano keyboard tie
The poem’s narrator travels though anonymous fields of loneliness, in and out of his body.
This man resorts to thinking. He thinks about thinking and
thinks that maybe this is something he began a long time
ago, once he started thinking.
You are not wrong, because when you are alone, you can
never be wrong. You can also never be alone.
And surreal concepts…
But everyone knows pop music can only contain a limited
amount of sadness. Any excess sorrow is excreted from
the trees crystal veins in the form of sap.
That’s what sap really is, pure concentrated sadness.
The poem concludes with a discourse on the value of 80’s pop music as currency, and the need for the currency to be protected by the Brat Pack.
The Western point is guarded by James Spader, Ally
Sheedy watches the North, Andrew McCarthy stands cool
and detached over the East and Molly Ringwald keeps an
eye on the South
And seriously, any poem that finishes with “My heart still belongs to Molly Ringwald” has instant appeal; that line alone forces you back to the start to read again.
The poem is deliberate free verse, switching between enjambed lines and prose poetry, which helps pace the poem; Sean Whelan is a rare breed, a performance poet who translates to the page.
Love Don’t Live Here Anymore is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org $7 incl. postage within Australia, $8 international.
Sean M Whelan blogs at http://www.loveisthenewhate.blogspot.com/
Mark William Jackson is a Sydney based poet whose work has appeared in various print and online journals including; Best Australian Poems 2011, Popshot (UK), Going Down Swinging, Cordite, The Diamond & the Thief and SpeedPoets. For more information visit http://markwmjackson.com