Reviews

Unity, Order and Equilibrium

JILL MANDRAKE

It’s a good thing that OO (Invisible Publishing) has the subtitle Typewriter Poems, so that you’ll have no doubt what’s between the covers. To me, OO suggests the eyes of Little Orphan Annie, perpetually astonished at the world she sees. I guess that’s apt, because the fifty typewriter poems in this volume are both thought provoking and beautifully crafted. Dani Spinosa, in her introduction, says the collection “works to forge a community out of visual poets who continue to create softness in a kind of poetics strangely named concrete.” She pays tribute to dozens of visual poets, some well known in the field, such as Bob Cobbing, bpNichol and Emmett Williams, and some whose work I admit to having no knowledge of, such as Thomas A. Clarke and Eric Schmaltz. An entire section, titled “A Lack,” is devoted to female visual poets, including such early innovators as Mirella Bentivoglio, Paula Claire, Mary Ellen Solt, Colleen Thibaudeau, and Vancouver’s own Judith Copithorne. An especially reverent poem appears in a section titled “A Lone,” where a typewritten design slowly brings forth these words: “the night leonard cohen died / i took two shots of stoli / and thought / oh great now / no one / feels / in poetry / anymore.” OO ends with the section, “Like, That is Femmeship: An Afterword in Feminist Conversation Between Dani Spinosa and Kate Siklosi.” At first, I was uncertain why this afterword was essential to the book, but for readers who don’t want the pages to end, it’s a relief to eavesdrop on what sounds like latenight, Stoli-fueled repartee. I just wish that those two poets had ruminated on how typewriters, like vinyl, are mysteriously making an astounding comeback.

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JILL MANDRAKE

Jill Mandrake writes strange but true stories and leads Sister DJ’s Radio Band, featuring rhythm and blues covers, post-vaudeville original tunes and occasional comedy bits. https://hido.bandcamp.com/album/the-neti-pot

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