Thursday, May 03, 2007

"No One Dies At The Au Bon Pain" by Doug Holder ( reviewed by Hugh Fox.)

No One Dies at the Au BonPain By Doug Holder 2007; 28pp; Pa; sunnyoutside, POB 441429,Somerville, MA 02144. $8.00.

First off, a little background. There are a couple of Au Bon Pain coffee houses in the Boston area. My own favorite is in Harvard Square. Doug Holder is the mythical, revered, super-star head of Ibbetson Street Press in Somerville.

And the whole book here has a certain mythical-classical feel about it. Like St. Augustine or San Juan de la Cruz had come back reincarnated and started re-meditating on death, time, the meaning of life:

"I am not afraid of bones./I trace them/through a facade of flesh..../and there/is always/the joke/of a skeleton/under the myth/of the most beautiful woman.//Bones--/they are what/make us/most human. ( I Am Not Afraid of Bones, p.9).

The poetry gets even scarier when it gets medical, moves out of philosophical-theological theory into things like colonoscopies: "In the funeral parlor bathroom/I thought/odd/how the light/seems to divinely illuminate me/through the stained glass window/as if I was part of a purifying ritual./I strained and strained/and wondered about/that test/and how long/I have before/that dreaded/rest. (Colonoscopy, p.21).

Always a sense of impending doom as a normal component of daily living:

"that short/tenuous last breath/that will surely be/the death//of me. (My Life: In Contrast with Others, p.24).

Amazingly effective, what we have here are classic, condensed meditations on what it's all about in a context of eventual anihilation. A volume to be on the shelves next to Keats, Whitman, Rimbaud.

Hugh Fox/Ibbetson Update

* Hugh Fox was born in Chicago in 1932. He has his Ph.D.from the U. of Illinois, has taught at Loyola in Los Angeles, the U. of Sonora in Hermosillo, Mexico, the Instituto Pedagogico and the Universidad Catholico in Caracas, the U. of Santa Catarina in Florianopolis, Brazil, and for some 35 years was a professor at Michigan State U. He has some 85 books published, poetry, archaeology, criticism, novels, literary and cultural history, and more.
Bill Ryan in The Unborn Book: "Hugh Fox is the Paul Bunyan of American Letters, part myth, part monster, and, myself-as-subject, a magnificent non-stop storyteller."

No comments:

Post a Comment