Wednesday, May 3, 2017



A CAPacious Act by Charles A. Perrone
(Moria Books’ Locofo Chaps, Chicago, 2017)

            Okay, so I’m as big a fan of alliteration as the next guy. I think, when done properly, it’s one of the greatest tools in a poet’s toolbox. Within the purview of politically-charged poetry, it leaves a power, poignant penning of perfect platitudes. (See what I did there?) That being said, and despite my feeblest attempts, I can come nowhere near the penning of the nefarious, notorious nuances of one Charles A. Perrone.

            It’s not so much that Perrone brings alliteration to each and every line of his chap. Rather, it’s that he manages to layer alliteration on top of other alliteration, making the paragraphs both readable and worthy of a groan-inducing sigh, one, admittedly laced with respect. For an example, we turn to his poem Brewing News Story, where the author writes “The organization is now nearly in need/of something or someone/to work with on the on-going coverage/of overage covert operatives who despite all/maintain a secrecy sufficiently agile/to provoke an opaque sheen over a veritable rage/anxious to exit its clandestine cave in a cove/to be cast upon the open ocean of espionage/that threatens to engulf this whole endeavor.” Between the O’s, the E’s, the N’s, the S’s, and the C’s, it’s simple to see how succinctly silly the scribe’s scribblings can be, even if the platitudes and pontifications placed therein are poignant.

            That’s not to say that this volume solely focuses on alliteration as an art. (See? Now I’m doing it without intending to!) Much like it’s siblings in the Locofo Chaps series, this volume hits hard with the heavy political commentary, as it should. For example, in Scene from a Dream, the poet asks a question that nobody should have to answer (but is now a very real reality on Trump’s America) when he writes ”If your next of kin is Mexican or Filipino/or some other common undocumented/immigrant nationality in/’the greatest country in the world’/Then should you ignore the request/To come identify the body?” It makes my soul weep to discover that, not only do I have an answer, but that I have no way of obtaining one. This sounds less like a lurid dream, and more like a nascent, nocturnal nightmare.

            In short, this book plays with worlds while pulling at your heartstrings. With never a dull moment, it allows one to consider both how the words we use form our views on the world, and how we can use those same words to, hopefully, foster  a sense of change in some of our darkest hours.

From works for children to the macabre, from academic research to sports journalism, and from opinion essays to the erotic, M. Earl Smith is a writer that seeks to stretch the boundaries of genre and style. A native of Southeast Tennessee, M. Earl moved to Ohio at nineteen and, with success, reinvented himself as a writer after parting ways with his wife of eleven years. After graduating from Chatfield College (with highest honors) in 2015, M. Earl became the first student from Chatfield to matriculate at an Ivy League institution when he enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. The proud father of two wonderful children (Nicholas and Leah), M. Earl studies creative writing and history at UPenn. When he’s not studying, M. Earl splits time between Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Chattanooga, with road trips to New York City, Wichita, Kansas, and Northampton, Massachusetts in between.

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