Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Winter Journey (2008) by Tony Towle

Winter Journey (2008)
by Tony Towle $16.00

Hanging Loose Press
Brooklyn, New York
isbn 978-1-931236-93-5

Review by Irene Koronas

many of the poems are complete stories; his poem,
‘Ethnicity,’ is a succinct visit to the laundry, the
cleaners: “are you Jewish? asked /the elderly Chinese
lady at /the dry cleaners my girlfriend had
recommended…“ the poem ends with his telling his
girlfriend of the encounter. and in the poem
’Illuminations (Diverse Miniatures)’ 1. tableau.
“…into the sink of the Pennsylvanian present where she
washes the dishes to the violins of the rainswept
interstate.” Towle shows us a slice of contemporary
life, almost a photograph except for the some times
juxtaposition of an out of context jabber wacky.

some of the poems are simple scenes and require simple
form and words but Towle insists on couching his view
of the world and people within the rhetoric or
language of the language poets. “Anthropomorphic
Etiquette’ 6. “the female rooster should always follow
her instincts and then perhaps apologize for the
misunderstanding.” I quote the above because I’m not
sure what he is referring to. and why should I have to
guess at the meaning. yes, I know what anthropomorphic

Towle has one foot on past poetic forms, surreal and
lets say a villanelle, and another foot on a
dictionary. : 2. ‘Impertinence.’ “like the sun, I
endured a turbulent childhood and became allergic to
interstellar dust while contending with encircling
debris that would have made any entity dizzy, hot,
unstable and content to just float there and smolder
for eons in a grumpy and extended recovery period as
the center of a gratuitous and onerous “system” before
imploding into cosmic isolation.” indeed a grand way
of talking about death.

this book of poems is a picture book taken from his
momentary and perhaps his present journey through
life. the reader will find themselves engrossed and at
times repelled by his encounters. in his poem ‘The
investigation,’ we tour the great central library with
him. Towle is looking at himself and finding himself,
not who he wants to be but who he is and how he is
perceived. “…what I was tossing from the cup were
three-dimensional symbols that in my pose I could not
quite turn my head to comprehend.”

Irene Koronas
Ibbetson street press
poetry editor
wilderness house literary review

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