Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I'm appreciative of New Mystics' review (thank you Joey Madia) of Ernesto Priego's NOT EVEN DOGS! The review -- picked up as well by Book Masons -- can be seen HERE, though I am purred to feature this excerpt:
The poems of Mornings and Territories operate like prayers and self-assessments (calling to mind the poetry of McKuen and Kerouac), referencing both directly and indirectly, Buddhism, haiku, koans, quantum physics, Tao, and the like, with lines such as:

poem is
more than this

world in
a sand grain

heaven in
a wild flower (p. 16)

Grass moving slowly
the sculpture
watches (p. 45)

I have grown accustomed to the artist reflecting on one’s art through the art itself as part and parcel of the Meritage Press philosophy, and Priego does it as well as anyone I’ve read thus far.

The review also waxes enthusiastically about the hay(na)ku. But it does something new in locating the book within the "Meritage Press philosophy". While people are aware of my press (that Kevin Killian has called "small but mighty"), MP's eclecticism, you see, doesn't make it one of the hip presses to talk about -- not that I'm complaining; I like the difficulty of being categorized whether it's for moiself or moi projects. But Madia observed something about MP that even I was unaware of. To wit, this excerpt:
Meritage Press philosophy, and Priego does it as well as anyone I’ve read thus far. He also works with similar metaphorical themes as, for instance, Jean Vengua in Prau (which was published a year after Not Even Dogs), when he employs nautical imagery:

A writer is
a sailor,

considering wreckages, […] (p. 22)

Got that, MP authors? Michelle? Tom? Mark? Allen? Jukka? Bruna? Garrett? Bill? Nick?, just to name a few.... If you haven't already, you need to write a poem employing "nautical imagery" to be authentic.

Synchronistically, whilst editing the manuscript for THE THORN ROSARY, I just had to change in one poem the word "masts" to "sails" (since I hadn't been aware of the error, which did appear in its first book appearance at REPRODUCTIONS OF THE EMPTY FLAGPOLE). There is something about the sea/ocean that grabs me as a diasporic.

Having said that, I can't swim. Such, are the paradoxes of poetry.

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