Sunday, January 12, 2014


JIM McCRARY reviews

croniamental’s miscellany #17 
(by c-l books, Portland, OR, 2013)


The Long Face by Sam Lohmann  
Editions plane (c-l books, Portland, OR, 2013)


Who is in Charge by Morgan Ritter
(c_l books, Portland, OR, 2013)


Commemorative libations by Thaddeus Ross
(c_l books, Portland, OR, 2013)

And then there is the day I open the mailbox here in Kansas and see a package from James Yeary has arrived from Portland.  Always a treat, a surprise  and always something original and thoughtful.  This time a newsletter, two old school stapled chapbooks and a beautiful printed collection of mixed drink recipes which are certainly poetry cocktails.

croniamental’s miscellany #17 is made up of 8 pages white copy paper stapled at the top and mailed to anyone (I assume) who might ask and offer a ‘donation’.  It comes when it does and I have no idea when, even after more than a dozen issues have arrived.  This time the poets are Alli Warren, Sam Lohmann, Mathew Stolte and Allison Cobb. Each of them is unique in a way that might not look so unique at first.  Perhaps that is intent or simply my mistake.  Each of them finds ways to describe, detach, divide and distort what may be passing by in there life (or not)…be it in depth discussion of benzene molecules, odd yet remarkably sane ‘dictionary’ out takes,  just the daily of it all with someone or not. The remarkable abilities shown by each of the contributors makes this a more than quick read thru.  Read again for sure then over once more.  Deft choice all.

The Long Face by Sam Lohmann adds to the mix of what, for me, might be happening in poetic writing these days.  I would guess after reading this selection that Lohmann is well read and  respected.  He certainly seems to have found a way to express himself that leaves out most of what presents itself as contemporary and yet seems not to stand the test.  But who am I.  Truth be told…I am so far out of touch.  I depend on others to put in front of me what it is that  is.  My local independent bookshop is wonderful but not able to keep up with the poetry being published and the local university bookshop has been downsized to so few titles it is sad.  And besides since the state decided it is okay for professors to carry loaded guns (concealed carry) I will no longer venture on campus. 

Who Is In Charge by Morgan Ritter.  I like poets who talk to themselves.  I like poets who are cynical or just paying attention.  Funny.  Here is a quote or maybe a blurb: “This poem is coughing.  This poem is actively participating.”  Morgan Ritter has strong hands.  Strong eyes.  I am going to ‘borrow’ this chapbook to someone who will really really get off on Morgan Ritter’s poetics.

commemorative libations by Thaddeus Ross.  Here is a book of cocktail mixes.  It is printed on really nice paper.  It arrived just before the fucking ‘polar vortex’ some kind of deal that dropped the temp here in Kansas to minus fucking 30 degrees.  So with none of the stuff needed…what is more poetic than reading the mix without making the mix.  As in the drink called: “Walking Around The House In Your Underwear:  equal parts gold rum and brandy.”   I mean come on, John Ashbery has never been that inspired.  Jeez.  And it gets better and there are many, many more of that. I will let you imagine what a Little Dice or a Lionsaddle might be.  Good thing to do on a cold fucking night.


Jim McCrary got a new laptop and he can't figure it out--nor can I--which explains the justified (pun intended) position of his paragraphs after the first.  Meanwhile, he is featured here with his cat Abby settling in for “ a long winter’s nap”—

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