In the Summer of Bowering, Geist blogger and Poetry Is Dead magazine Editor-in-Chief Daniel Zomparelli will be reviewing George Bowering's latest poetry collection, My Darling Nellie Grey. The collection is divided into twelve chapters, named for each month of the year, and Zomparelli will review one chapter a week all summer long.
I was stumbling through the internet and happened upon this. It's a quick overview of the entire book by Isola di Rifiuiti, in case you only want a week of Bowering, or a few days.
The April chapter is by far one of my favourite pieces. The poems reflect culture that is ignorant—to say the least—and forces the reader not to look away. What we see here is racism, sexism, homophobia and the weird editorial of the NRA and KKK. These small snapshots of sometimes entirely found poems, stir anger in all the right ways.
As a note of how much anger these poems can stir: one of the first poems I read when I picked up this book was "Many, many," a poem that uses homophobic editorial to write itself, and thought George Bowering was being prejudice, but I quickly picked up on the fact that these were not his ideas. Let's just say there was a thought bubble floating above my head and it had a bag of poop burning on his front porch. Thankfully I read on, and the bag of poop thought bubble popped ... figuratively speaking.
Another note of appreciation for this chapter is the poems that broke up the deranged editorial, with ekphrastic snapshots. The poems detailed an image in such a way that you could visualize a newspaper/website/other source Bowering used to produce the sonnets (what he is referring to as U.S. Sonnets). The snapshots he details create an image that is impossible to remove from your mind once it is in place.
This chapter instantly reminded me of the work of Nikki Reimer in her book [sic] and Jonathon Wilcke’s newest book Dupe! (both of which I highly recommend you pick up a copy). It has this raw quality to it, that rages the reader. These political minded poems are quite smart in their subtle way of hitting a nerve. My only recommendation is that you not read this chapter on a relaxing day at the beach. Trust me, it really doesn’t help you relax.