reading The Grapevine by richard lopez. there are many things to enjoy in this little book – what i like most are the quiet moments of joy that repeatedly pop up. they are there almost in defiance, but also celebration of the chaotic world that still influences the trajectory of the poems. these are the moments you look for (i call the ‘aha’ moments) as a writer. richard sees the brush of a skirt, the quick glance, the inking of a tattoo; even the sensations of smoke & liquor & rock music.
i guess the language is sensory. i think these poems immerse one in sights, smells & sounds, & that this is more important than existential angst. not to say the work isn’t questioning; i tend not to like poetry that is purely ornamental. it’s just that the vital & jagged pulse of living is part of questioning. it’s the beat you move your head to.
my favourite at the moment is ‘poetics’, but also ‘state of joy’, ‘camel’, ‘speed’, & ‘listening to elvis costello…’. ‘poetics’ begins with the line “so what if the plate fell from the mantel”. cool. funny but i feel like i can sense the writer in these poems. it all comes from blogging i guess. & there are poems in there i think i have nearly written. maybe.
by the way i had never heard of mad dog 20/20. we have something called passion pop. cheap & nasty. i think they might be similar. i imagine if you want to get hold of richard’s book you should contact him through his blog. i recommend doing so. (oh i haven’t yet listened to his cd though. things mount up. i am writing ‘write a ‘to-do list’ down on paper right now. seriously.)
other news for the online poetry world?
– a recording of one of my pieces is available as part of The Countdown. I haven’t listened to it all yet. don’t tell anyone.
– the next issue of cordite has gone online featuring another of my poems. cordite is always a good read. thumbs up. & my name is in the blurb, you know ‘featuring work by…’. they know about my reputation obviously. my name will bring in 3 million readers at the very least.
& most importantly of all… did anyone in australia ever watch a cartoon on abc (i’d say in the 80s) featuring a mad little guy in a white helmet, who commanded a whole heap of other little guys in black helmets? his ambition was always to raise through the ranks, & this would mean a change in helmet colour. i think his next level up was ‘red helmet’.
why can’t i find any info on this cartoon? a friend & i searched google for an hour or so. i thought everything was out there. am i missing something vital? can you help?
* exaggeration & hyperbole are often used by writers / online pundits. readers are often pleased to encounter these literary techniques. some critics have even gone so far as to say irony is the one essential characteristic of all poetry. i am not a critic however.