"Why can't monsters get along with other monsters?"


Ron Silliman on Mike Magee's new Zasterle book, My Angie Dickinson.


Daniel Bouchard

The Filaments, Zasterle, 2006

settings, subjects and objects -- Bouchard creates a movement of thought using these -- "wrappers that clung once to things" -- he is of a long tradition of poets who use a poem as occasion to scan the horizon for clues -- to note his perceptions as though they were simply in among the elements in a landscape exuding information.

somber -- restrained -- meditative -- if you think these poems are "boring" you're missing it. gradual extrapolation from the poem's details -- subdued, subtle…

environment and memory -- birds, garbage, buildings, so much of the content pivoting around ordinary (read -- real) detail of what you see walking down the street (people are objects too- in the Olson sense) or what you see out the window -- and these come into regular collision with the news -- that other window.

"now the colored cross-hatching in a comic strip / deepens the blunt amazement / at the resistance and revenge / of the nation's most nefarious / and villainous administration. / bad guys engaged in monologue heave / a garbage truck into the crowd"

the poetry of evacuated public squares (Lowell? ) "tow trucks drag their victims" sometimes deadpan humor -- static energy ala static electricity -- "let nature be your creative writing instructor"

an account of a rainstorm is also a poetics
A distancing effect throughout.

Public policy colliding with the kitchen table. a chronicler of civic surfaces and statues, traffic, advertisement, ballpark lights, forsythia…

The fiercely mundane details that are not focus-group tested -- "I am he who ate Easter dinner / with family at his sister's house / waking up on the fold-out couch / with his wife, playing with our nephews"

The energy occasionally too comfortable, occasionally too cautious? Needs more dynamic variation?

The trustworthiness ratio of the observation and detailing is very high throughout the book- the consistent, carefully balanced proportions of the lines -- stalwart New Englander!

"The beginning whisper of crickets / could be rain hitting the street / softly, so soft, the slightest change / will give it away, and it's only / my mind making meaning from sound / not the rain I want to come. "