010.1: Justin Vicari:: Madame Sosostris the Clairvoyante & Dangerous Heaven: Stetson & Dimestore Perfume & The Third Who Walks Beside You
5 April 2010
Justin Vicari makes a chorus out of confusion. The poems in this selection are from a chapbook project entitled Doing the Policemen in Different Voices. As the title suggests, the poems are dramatic monologues from various voices. The following poems take a speaker from T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and make that speaker into a character, a voice with dilemmas, emotions, arguments. What I find most satisfying about the series is that the speakers don’t resolve the conflicts they explore. Stetson, for example, ends his dramatic monologue with a sense of philosophical necessity: “I still expect to reach that dangerous heaven/whose lure has tempted so many to sin/in order to have something to confess”. The “expect to reach” suggests that Stetson is less a libertine and more an observer with a critical distance from the very emotions and passions a poet is expected to muster as an artificial construction. Such cerebral investments make these poems as much about the conundrums of invention and identity as they are about giving voice to often overlooked characters.
010.2: Conrad DiDiodato:: Michael Mirolla’s Light and Time: Imagery, Language & Mystery
7 April 2010
"Now light and time, stripped of purely metaphysical functions, are agents of a new opening to language, reconfigured on patterns of incongruities and asymmetrical viewing that mark the true experiences from which the poem arises. Looking at "Le Repos Du Vieillard" is not to see rest but a portrait of imminent death, skillfully delineated in shade and tones as though we were looking a surrealist painting; a transformation of stillness and finality of life into ghastly insect body and of the place of death (“a house of cards”) itself into Tartarean hell."