April 4, 2008KR BlogUncategorized

Small Press Notes

Chiron Review #82 | Michael Hathaway, Ed.

After three year hiatus, Chiron Review, a pillar of the American small press, has returned. Published out of St. John, Kansas, on newsprint, Chiron #82 picks up where it had paused, publishing, as it has since 1982, a diverse poetry you won’t find in glossy institutional journals–poems dirty, comic, more narrative than lyric, referencing Melville but also day jobs, sandwiches, advanced sexual positions. This issue features the work of Frank Van Zant, his poems on teaching and playing “19th Century Base Ball” : “This ritual is called reenactment, a curator’s word for pretending / and part of the show is to unearth lost vocabulary.” The Review ends with a generous helping of book reviews of mostly limited edition books and chapbooks.

the ristorante godot | Gerald Locklin | Dover, DE: Bottle of Smoke Press, 2007

A slim, judicious, and varied selection of Locklin’s work, with generous tributes to friends, family, editors bumping up against self-deprecating looks at failed flirtations and social flubs. The title poem, a culinary rewriting of Beckett, finds a poor man winning the lottery (the lotto another of Locklin’s go-to scenarios), and starting a restaurant for the rich. It ends with the rich awaiting their meals:

the food never arrives;
the smiling waiters withdraw
with a curtsy
and are never heard from again.
the musical ambiance consists of
the complete works of varese
on automatic pilot
to the end of time.

Still In The Game | Fred Voss | Racine, WI: BGS Press, 1994

Voss’ poetry is almost exclusively set in the machine shop, his poems vignettes of work and its coworkers in a unique poetic line of alternating length and run on sentence constructions. This chapbook, from 1994, is a rare departure from the workplace. Still In The Game’s series tells of a recovery and healing through drunken softball. The players might barely keep it together off the field, and their softball might not be by-the-book, but in the game and its measured accomplishments they find a celebration of their brokenness. In “Competitive Spirit,” a biker’s up to bat:

The biker may have
looked awkward at the plate swinging wild golf swings
that missed the softball by a foot most times leaving
him collapsed in the dirt around the car mat
we used for home plate“

The biker does, eventually, connect, and runs for his life to first base–causing the first basemen to take evasive action for his life. The poem ends on great understatement:

That biker couldn’t hit
but he sure made the most of what he could do.