Thursday, December 21, 2017


STEVE DALACHINSKY Presents Mini-Reviews of 

(Unbearable / Autonomedia Press , 2017) 


Neglected Powers by Eric La Prade
(last word press, 2017)


A HERMIT HAS NO PLURAL by Gabor Gyukics 
(Singing Bone Press, 2015) 

Long Day, Counting Tomorrow by Jim Feast

A hater might say I want to plug Jim Feast’s new fascinating and revealing novel Long Day, Counting Tomorrow simply because two of the characters are based on my wife and myself and play prominent roles in the book, which, in the guise of a murder mystery, attempts to capture New York’s literary scene of the mid-1990s. Feast proclaimed to me that this is "akin to previous sketches of Bohemia offered in books such as Gaddis’ The Recognitions and Sorrentino’s  Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things" (2 books I haven't read), though with one difference. The book centers on a man dying of AIDS, whose character, based on the writer John Penn, is involved in both poetry and protest. The protest is for AIDS funding, dramatically shown in a raucous march across the Brooklyn Bridge (also based in fact). The book is overall a witty, multi-layered affair laced with dark comedy. As the hero (Feast) says, “If you can’t joke about your own death, what can you joke about?"  The book, as with most of Feast's books, has eye-catching magnificent cover art by a painting by Richard Lethem (Jonathan Lethem's father) and is part of the Neo-Phobe trilogy.


Neglected Powers by Eric La Prade

The majority of the poems in Eric La Prade’s newest publication Neglected Powers (last word press -2017) are gathered from extant sources, mostly previously published chapbooks and appear here for the first time as a whole body of work. They are comprised of fascinating journeys through nightmares, streets, cornfields and museums just to name a few. There is pathos, anger, indifference, heartbreak, sex, memory, “things that don’t exist anymore.” Things to remind the poet “what he didn’t want to talk about.”  He reveals his almost nonchalant empathy for a dog-walking ex-philosopher immigrant and the veils created by prejudice and hypocrisy. “…the land can’t be sold…” “Our jobs are threatened.” “It is clear what has to be done / but we don’t know where to begin.” La Prade offers no solutions to his or society’s dilemmas but does help in his own open-eyeing way to illuminate them. You can begin by cracking this book open and digesting the wor(l)d.


A HERMIT HAS NO PLURAL by Gabor Gyukics 
I need enough hooks to hang my words on…” is how the poem “I’m not here you only imagine me” begins immediately we are seduced to enter or plunge into Surrealist-bent Hungarian poet Gabor Gyukics’ recent collection in English (with a few bi-lingual brain teasers), A HERMIT HAS NO PLURAL. Gabor continually sends us on wild goose chases with him and ourselves as in “whose face it is”: “the mirror shows a different picture every day.” We are constantly being reminded of who we are yet who we are not. Take for instance these lines: “your body is searching for the gap / your eyes are already behind the wind / the weight of nothing in your head…”  Or “your soul got trapped / it lost its sense of empty space”. Or “avoid the slavery of appearances… forgotten alphabets / for it is dangerous to be named”. Or this sad but almost confident, quiet outpouring: “if i reach inside the pain / and displace it into a non-functional object, like a mug…break it into pieces…it stops lingering…becomes someone else’s pain.”  Though Gyukics possibly means inanimate, non-functional somehow works to better effect. In his short elegy to the great poet Ira Cohen he sums up the sad reality of this under-recognized genius: “yellow fog feeds / your leftover body. This book will tear you apart as it attempt to make you whole again and maybe you too can have the wish “that whatever you hope to turn around was going to turn around.”


Poet/collagist Steve Dalachinsky was born in Brooklyn after the last big war and has managed to survive lots of little wars. His book The Final Nite (Ugly Duckling Presse) won the PEN Oakland National Book Award. His latest cds are The Fallout of Dreams with Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach (Roguart 2014) and ec(H)o-system with the French art-rock group, the Snobs (Bambalam 2015). He has received both the Kafka and Acker Awards and is a 2014 recipient of a Chevalier D’ le Ordre des Artes et Lettres. His poem “Particle Fever” was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. His most recent books include Fools Gold (2014 feral press), a superintendent's eyes (revised and expanded 2013/14 - unbearable/autonomedia), flying home, a collaboration with German visual artist Sig Bang Schmidt (Paris Lit Up Press 2015) and “The Invisible Ray” (Overpass Press – 2016) with artwork by Shalom Neuman.

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