Saturday, June 4, 2011

Review: G.E. Schwartz, LVNGinTONGUES, poems in a different margin

 Lokesh Khodke*
G.E. Schwartz writes with one eye on "our dust" and the other (our third?) on us--us--here. I just read his chapbook LVNGinTONGUES (Hank's Original Loose Gravel Press) and now want you to read it.

It's a flow of poem, LVNGinTONGUES, an aggregate of short poems unfettered by titles, which makes me wonder if titles aren't a needless colonizing marker:  Hey, folks, let me tell you what this here poem is about!  (I use them but that's no excuse.)  Instead of being drawn to a title as we expect, in Schwartz' chapbook we are thrown to an unfamiliar place, a different margin, a place slightly disquieting, riveting and dislocating, over there, on the other side.

And thus (and through poetic alchemy) prepared for death in all its daily guises and for a greater death. We are reminded of our fragility and of that which is awe-inducing.

WHITES or blacks, linen
or porphyry,
one in the same to the
same of us --
but out where dust
is blown -- there's a tomb
built of clay and bronzed
that should make us

These poems are written as quiet revelations of the dark hope that we are even capable of wavering.  That if we can't transcend, we can know our lack, our inability.  Better to realize that, say, I can't become Gerard Manley Hopkins, than to be so dulled I toss the book aside and return to t.v. and Ruffles. (That's me speaking, though I know Schwartz a bit and thus know he likes Hopkins. I saw Schwartz read down here--he lives upstate New York--and know he appreciates the gifts (jazz, friendships).

THROAT-HAWK nightscreaming
stand     up leave the rest
of us on the table
when life is with you
are struck across time
bark at strangers
feed the incorrigible
appetite of edifices
shadow dust, hate the light

. . . the incorrigible appetite of edifices . . .   Yeah. I say yeah however I read the word edifices--our culture, our corporations, the body as structure . . .   (And oh, I suppose the capitalizing of the first words of each poem serves as an ex officio title.  Maybe the eye needs something. Anyway it's a nice touch.)

The ultimate disclaimer is that Schwartz reviewed my book, here. And so with that frisson of joy that someone who has insight into my writing is so intelligent and gifted himself I recommend these poems. oH, i assuME the title IS A NOd to lanGUAge poetrY.

Hank's Original Loose Gravel Press. PO Box 453, Arroyo Grande, CA 93421. $7.
*Beautiful painting, Edifices, by Lokesh Khodke. Found here.

No comments:

Post a Comment