Thursday, November 30, 2006



My Spaceship, Edited by Mark Lamoreaux
(Cy Gist Press, 2006)

First off, I must admit that I love themed anthologies such as My Spaceship ed. by Mark Lamoureux, the second chapbook from his Cy Gist Press. The idea behind this collection was to have a clutch of poets write ekphrastic texts based on the images taken from a childhood coloring book of sci-fi pictures. The images are preserved specimens printed en face to the accompanying texts. What I find wild is how this coloring book, Lamoureux's I'm guessing, survived the ravages of child play. My own such items have long been ripped into wispy strings void of any readable printing at all.

Okay, so there is the gut-level reaction to the images in the collection itself, but the poems are the meat of the matter. Here's Tom Beckett's text in its entirety:

My Spaceship

Is a Freudian slip

Of a thing

Lips colored

Outside its lines.

Beckett embraces his task by penning an eponymous poem of the collection proper that accentuates the sensuality of coloring on paper, which in turn are embodiments of the eroticism of writing and language. Rather the spaceship Beckett refers to is not a slip of a thing but a vehicle for one of the responsibilities of poets and poetry: love, in all its messiness outside the lines, whether or no the language is writ in crayon.

Another excellent poem by Noah Falck must be quoted in its entirety too. For in it Falck extends the sci-fi theme toward our dystopian near-future.

Alone Exacto Place

The sky was a prehistoric black,
a space helmet and four moons
suspended themselves in my peripheral.

The sound of the neighbor's ignition
was like the first flushing toilets of space
and that's when the system crashed

my memory, my hard drive.
It felt like being stranded in a parking
lot without a calendar of moon transfers,

like speaking in code as the great
tick of music ran wild beyond my ears
across the corporate universe.

Less about the images in a coloring book then the brave new world of the early 21st century. Falck does what good ekphrastic writing must do, and that is move beyond its subject, the image itself, and into a something larger, even if that something pitches toward the void of the loss of memory and information, items so crucial for intellectual life in our new millenium. Poetry is not a code as some who are put out by intense, abstracted language might suggest, rather poetry runs swifter and deeper beyond the corporations that seemingly control life in the 21st century.

That is one of the strengths of poetry, and why this collection is such a delight. Poetry, thus far, resists commodification, so far it has not been coopted by corporate interests and is vitally a part of play, in life and art. No better way to express that play than within the pages of a child's coloring book, for in it we have only the image, the crayon and the imagination to blur outside its lines. Poetry is the blur of ink, the tick of music, the messiness of our crazy life.

I've quoted two poems from My Spaceship in this brief review, I could've easily done the whole of the book. But that wouldn't be a review at all but a reprinting of the entire collection. Indeed, instead I'll list a sampling of other good poets in this chap; poems by Jon Leon, Nate Pritts, Jess Mynes, Eileen Tabios, Stacy Syzmaszek and Suzanne Nixon. It was Nixon who coined the phrase in her poem "(!)" 'alien nectar' which is a pretty damn good description of the contents of this excellent collection.


Richard Lopez lives the life electric at really bad movies.


At 8:17 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Thanks for the stellar (no pun intended) review of the anthology, Richard. As the editor, I am happy that someone has given these poems the attention and consideration that they deserve.


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