Saturday, January 11, 2014



HOUSES: a poem by CB Follett
(Tebot Bach, Huntington Beach, CA, 2011)

So what does Lindsay Lohan have in common with CB Follett? 

Yeah, I thought that question might make you pause.  So, there’s that movie “Georgia Rules” that stars Jane Fonda, Felicity Hoffman and Lindsay Lohan.  I checked it out of the library as I needed (I thought) to give my brain some popcorn.  But it also may be the first time I’ve actually seen the infamous Lindsay in a screen role.  Okay—she does have that “X Factor”: a lotta charisma, acting talent, presence, et al.  Let’s hope she comes out of these activities that make her a Numero Uno target for the paparazzi.

Anyway, at one point in the movie, Lindsay is working on this 500-piece or thousand-piece whatever puzzle.  And the character played by Dermot Mulroney she’s in the scene with asks why she doesn’t look at the box that features the image they’re trying to recreate with the numerous puzzle pieces.  And Lindsay’s character says something along the lines of that she’ll be more pleased/surprised by the result if she doesn’t know what awaited her piecing-together-fingers.

So, that’s what Lindsay has in common with CB Follett.  Follett’s poems excel in imagery and have these unexpected twists such that you’ll end up with an unanticipated visual in your mind after reading many of her poems in HOUSES (the subtitle notes a single “poem” but each section also works as individual poems).  Yes, Lindsay played a character while Follett’s poems are her own—but work with me here: the relationship is surely less than six degrees of separation, isn’t it?  Anyway, here’s a sample poem:

A House of Pockets

For months she scouted
the cast-off stores, the rag
pickers’ dens. All those pockets
attached to worn out clothes and
she made a house of pockets,
walls of all the colors of the seasons,
tints of fashion, fabrics of delicacy
as well as the sturdy cords of
work clothes. Pockets, both inside and out,
pockets she filled with treasure
as well as test tubes of water
each with a single flower, so the walls
shimmered with gardens as the months rolled by,
the rainbow of the house filling and shifting
with the scent of musk and attar.

As hinted by the title, the poem/s is/are on different types of houses but the conceit for making the group of poems a “collection” didn’t interest me as much as how each poem is so well-constructed (pun intended) to heighten each poem’s vividness. 

Follett’s imaginative powers elevate the poems.  The imaginativeness also affects the construction of HOUSES as a book.  This is a slim collection of 20 poems.  But there are two sets of facing pages that work effectively against each other.  Here is the interior that shows pages 12 and 13 for the poems, respectively, of “House Built of Forest” and “and Glass.”

As you see in the above, the titles can join each other (the first word of the title on the second page does not have its first letter capitalized).  The first poem describes a forest that then is discerned from within the second poem, a house made of glass.

Similarly, on pages 24 and 25, the poem “House Built of Ice Blocks” presents the construction of a house from ice that would come to melt, as the last line on page 24 says, “into a muddy square.”  Facing that poem is a page containing a quatrain.  Its first line is lined up with the last line of page 24 to “continue” on page 25 with “She felt melted herself.”  Here’s the image:

In Follett’s poems, lyricism and imagination combine for numerous pleasanT surprises.


Eileen Tabios does not let her books be reviewed by Galatea Resurrects because she's its editor. But she is also pleased to point you elsewhere to recent reviews of her books.  Her 2013 book, THE AWAKENING was reviewed by Aileen Ibardaloza at OurOwnVoice; and her 2004 book MENAGE A TROIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY, was reviewed (along with Joi Barrios' poetry) through the essay "The Self Revolution of Radical Love--Externalizing Internal Worlds of Freedon in Filipina Poetry" by Michaela Spangenburg at OurOwnVoice.  Eileen invites you to her new blog, EILEEN VERBS BOOKS; poets are invited to participate in three of its features: "Poetry and Money," "What Are You Reading?" and "What Do You Re-Read?"

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