Friday, March 27, 2009

Book of Beasts by Kerry Shawn Keys

Book of Beasts
Kerry Shawn Keys
Presa :S: Press 2009
ISBN 9780980008142

Review by Irene Koronas

vignettes similar to a hair net, which keeps hair in place while cooking, maybe the net works while writing. Keys has caught small beasts and their friends or roommates. the pages turn smoothly, one to another:

“be careful of eagles.
they’re not friendly like beagles.
evil empires place them on seals
and greedy dollar bills.
they reform babies and sparrows
with claws like arrows.
they’ll kill you for a meal,
a good deal or a limo full of petrol.
O’ they’ll catch you for a lark
and throw you to the sharks.

the poems’ sense of humor, like a snake wearing a sombrero, may strike your fancy or hit a nerve, depends on the pantomime
or turtle progress:

“…hermes once burbled over
a turtle-shell lyre,
and his cowbell songs are
paradigms of desire.
turtles and bunny rabbits
run the race of time,
and both end up as road kills
in this world’s platonic pantomime.”

I’m reminded of the island of moreau. the doctor/scientist tries to transform animals into humans. he is half successful. keys tries to create beasts like a politician on a campaign trail. each vignette exposes subjects we may not be willing to look at:

“I could just dig being a pig,
not a guinea pig, mind you, but
a real bigwig porker swigging
slop in his own stylish brig.
just imagine being king of my own
creation’s farm, casting devils
(and angels) into swine, being holy
unclean, not some boring
cow or chicken…”

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dorian Brooks: A poet who ponders what is behind "The Wren's Cry"

(Poet and political activist Dorian Brooks)

Dorian Brooks: A poet who ponders what is behind "The Wren's Cry"

Interview with Doug Holder

Dorian Brooks is not a self-promoter, but if one was to read her poetry he or she would surely be hooked. Reviewer Barbara Bialick wrote of her latest collection from the Ibbetson Street Press "The Wren's Cry,"

"She both enriches and breaks our hearts with well-edited, polished lyrics carved out of love, nature and memory. But don’t stop till you read the last poems, which will almost kill you with their powerful anti-war messages, one after another, landing as a dead monarch butterfly on Sitting Bull’s hat…"

Brooks is a widely published poet, an editor for the Ibbetson Street Press, an independent scholar of women's history, a politcial activist, a graduate of Harvard, to name a few accomplishments. I interviewed Brooks about her writing life and her new collection.

Doug Holder: Why did it take to your 30's for you to take your writing of poetry seriously?

Dorian Brooks: I was always writing, but as a child of Sputnik I felt torn between poetry and science, studying science and the history of science in college and grad school. When I was about 30, living in Connecticut, I took a poetry workshop, and I remember the woman who ran it saying she liked my work but found it distant, academic, and at one point said to me, “Dorian, when are you going to get in touch with your gut?” A few years later we moved to Minnesota, where poetry was big—in the schools, in the streets—as I imagine it’s been in Russia. I took several workshops there that encouraged me to write more about what I felt strongly about, which at that time tended to be personal relationships, family.

DH: You were a technical writer in the corporate world. Many poets I interviewed have been journalists and they found it a good training ground for being a writer—how about technical writing?

DB: I suppose that in forcing you to write clearly and economically it’s a bit like poetry. But there wasn’t much emotion involved (unless you count my increasing dislike of corporate America!) The principal of the high school I went to said that a poem has to begin with an emotion, and he was right.

DH: You first thought you had to write poems that were difficult to understand. Later you changed your tune. Why?

DB: I gradually realized there was no point in being obscure; it was a kind of affectation. I used to haunt the poetry sections of libraries, taking out books of contemporary poetry I liked, and they were usually by poets whose work spoke simply and directly in ways I could understand, like Sylvia Plath, Denise Levertov, Louise Bogan, James Wright, John Haines. When I lived in Minneapolis in the mid-1970s to mid-1980s, I had a wonderful teacher, Jim White. I remember him saying of his own work, “I went from opaque to translucent to transparent.” I think that was true of mine as well.

DH: How does your concern for the environment, and for women's history, play out in your new poetry collection The Wren's Cry?

DB: Several poems come out of a concern for the environment, mostly in the section “The Earth I Travel On”—such as “Back Road,” “At Martha’s Point,” and “Ground Zero,” in which I touch on our disengagement, our split from the natural world. In “Green Man” I suggest a little more directly that our dominant religious traditions have been part of that split.

As for women’s history—in poems scattered throughout the collection, but especially in the section “Who She Was,” I draw on the theme of silenced women’s voices, as in “Historical Marker (also an anti-war poem),” “In Memoriam,” and “Who She Was.” “To Brigit” and “Sea Child” express my strong interest in female spiritual figures and women’s voices in folklore.

DH: You say poetry for you is a way to come to terms with things. You say your new collection concerns the great themes of love and death. Have you come to terms with the fact that we die...even love dies...?

DB: Well, some of the poems are on those themes. Poetry is a way to connect with, to clarify, to express one’s deep feelings and thoughts, whether about love or death or whatever—hopefully in ways others can relate to. Maybe writing itself comes out of an awareness of the transitory nature of all things, ourselves included. I guess many of the poems in The Wren’s Cry are more or less elegies—for loss of the earth as we have known it; loss of those whom I, or we, hold dear.

DH: You have a great affinity for Native American cultures. Do you find a certain purity in native cultures ... or is it wrong to characterize them as such?

DB: It’s not that I have such an affinity for Native American cultures, though I’ve tried to learn what I can about them, or some of them. It’s more that I’ve come to realize how much of those cultures we (Euro-Americans) have destroyed over the past several hundred years. As a country, we’ve never really acknowledged that part of our history, and I think that until we do, it’s just lying there like a wound festering beneath the surface of things. Indians were mainly to be got out of the way—by assimilation, removal, or outright genocide—so we could take their lands and resources; and this taking is still going on, most recently in the appropriation of their spiritual traditions. I know “it wasn’t me” personally that did it, but it was my culture, whose hallmarks of dominance and greed are with us still and I believe directing much of what our country is doing vis a vis the rest of the world today.

As for Native cultures being “pure,” I wouldn’t put it that way, but I do think they often reflect important values that we in the dominant culture have lost sight of, such as a closeness to and spiritual affinity with nature, and a sense of community, of interrelatedness with others. I think that some older, pre-Christian, pre-industrial European cultures have held similar values, but they were mostly lost, and we’d do well to revisit them now.

DH: How does editing the magazine "Ibbetson Street" help or hinder your work as a poet?

DB: It doesn’t hinder my work. To some extent I think it helps it in the sense that it makes me aware of how many good poets are out there these days, writing on all manner of subjects, and that’s a source of inspiration.


By late summer, the maples

have gathered so much darkness

among their boughs,

we finally concede

our own maturing.

We hear crickets and mourn

an earlier music,

the days grown shorter now,

even our few words

a measure of acquiescence.

And in time,

longing itself dwindles

to a single leaf—

fine-veined and lucent,

yet trifling.

Day closes

and we are one

with the vesper sparrow,

at home with solitude

and night descending.

* From The Wren's Cry." ( Ibbetson 2009)

To order "The Wren's Cry" contact Or send $17 check or money order to: Ibbetson Street Press 25 School St. Somerville, Mass. 02143

Work & Days: Academic Freedom & Intellectual Activism Edited by Ed Carvalho

Works & Days
Academic Freedom & Intellectual Activism
in the Post 9/11 University
Volumes 26-27, 2008-09
Edward J. Carvalho Editor
ISSN: 0886-2060 $15.00

“…since 9/11 there have been many startling instances where the
dominant culture’s rhetoric of terrorism and fear have cast a pall
over the terrain of academic freedom.” Edward J. Carvalho

The above sentence sets the ground work, premises of what follows in each essay; the subject being terrorism, how the word itself effects, in a given situation and in an actual sense of meaning, and its effect on academia. Each essay or interview imparts knowledge by experts, within the range of their capabilities and intellectual understanding and research. Carvalho has assembled and puts forward these important dialogues: “now more than ever, rational, purposeful discussions on the future of our society must emerge so that the controversies outlined in this collection remain a relevant topic of concern for all citizens…”

Works & Days, contains some of the best, complete understandings, from historical to prophetic outlooks, and the role of the present state of regulations and deregulating, in colleges and universities. “Caught in the Crunch,” by Ellen Messer-Davidow. Her essay creates an conducive and inclusive atmosphere for what one may understand as observation and reporting. In reading her essay, I realize, trying to quote her in minuscule, is almost an impossibility, an injustice to what is being presented, but, I will attempt it, in an incomplete way:

“To harness research to their agendas, conservatives have wielded
defunding more blatantly. The basic strategy for defunding
progressive research was devised by Lynne Cheney, when she
chaired the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) from
1984 to 1994. She openly used her position to issue NEH reports
denouncing the scholarship on gender, race, class and theory,
and behind the scenes she packed the NEH council, staff,
and peer review panels with conservatives who in turn marked
this scholarship down in grant competitions.”

Each writer introduces a similar, yet different, experience and study. In an interview with Cornel West, Edward Carvalho asks, “…can you talk a little about the impact of these forces (imperialistic) on academic freedom and intellectual activism?” Cornell West, being a prolific speaker and writer, launches into a discussion which includes the Patriot Act and its influence on the academic environment:

“… So you’ve got these three forces-you’ve got 9/11 connected to the
Patriot Act, which is political; consensus, in terms of economic
ideology, and so forth; and then, of course, you’ve got the military
presence and imperial occupation, with the Israeli-Palestinian issue
looming large in relation to 9/11, and the academy unable to have
a Socratic dialogue about it.”

Cavalho has chosen his writers carefully, with certainty, and emphatic substances; they discuss some of the problems, connected to and with 9/11, within the academic society and the ramifications brought on by that particular day and thereafter the changes wrought upon the higher places of learning. The reader will find an exact fit, a voice worthy of their liking. My favorites are similar to Socrates questioning Cebes in Phaedo. “Why, when you add one to one, I am not sure either that the one to which one is added has become by the addition, two. I cannot understand how, when they are brought together, this union or placing of one by the other, should be the cause of their becoming two, whereas, when they were separated, each of them was one, and they were not two…” All the conversations within this book are one, each essay placed beside each one another, as one indication. I especially related to the interviews:

Edward Carvalho: In speaking of the relations between resistance and labor, what are some of the fundamental differences between dissidence, insurgence, and terrorism…?

Martin Espada: My own feeling about vocabulary that your addressing is that, yes, on the one hand, it’s certainly very subjective; you can talk about point of view as a major factor in labeling people as terrorists, or dissidents, or subversives, or whatever it might be. On the other hand, I think we can and should come to some agreement about what these words mean. Rather than simply dismissing it as an entirely subjective process, it’s more responsible of us as writers and activists to stop and say, “Okay, let’s decide what these words mean,” instead of just dismissing these words out of hand and never using them again.

EC: …have such terms been corrupted by the war in Iraq?…

ME: What we as poets can do is reconcile language and meaning and to put the blood back into the words. The fact of the matter is that words are perfect engines of meaning. Words are not simply noise, and words are not simply there to distract, frighten, or manipulate us. With that said, if we can simply reconcile language and meaning in ways to deliberately counteract the separation of language and meaning carried out by the people holding political and economic power, then we will have done our job as poets…

There are so many worthy writings in this book that I can only recommend buying it and gleaning from it what you will find relatable.

Karren Baird-Olson, “Learning-Centered” Urban University. Baird-olson gives an in-depth research/look into some of the problems after and before 9/11. She presents a subtitled list of subjects from her research: Cultural Imperialism, Economic Discrimination, Hyper-Surveillance, Marginalization and Exclusion. Each of these subjects backed-up in paragraphs, thoughtful explanations:

Ignoring these and other financial realities facing students, a
number of administrators, educational policy-makers, and
politicians continue to view students as consumers of a service
and to speak of their higher learning in terms of a “purchased good”
rather than “as a rite and a right.” above and beyond this obvious
corporative model, the same administrative strata erodes educational
opportunity by recommending that students incur additional debt
by taking supplemental loans to pay for their education. Few will
openly acknowledge that the ideology of privatization in education
is code for racialized thinking, which uses tropes for scapegoat
certain underrepresented student populations, in this case, First Peoples
and persons of color. The consequent justifications for shutting
out those groups from higher education undermines and/or destroys
“ethnic studies” programs, and thus excludes or silences the voices
of the less powerful…

Carvalho’s own expression, to which a reader can access, relate to what is being put forth: “But beyond the discussions and theorizing, past the vista of mere spectatorship, the ideas outlined here must become living things and through concerted agency be put to sustainable action…”

The book, Works & Days, presents a comprehensive, cohesive cross section of deliberations by the various writers. Each writer intones their perceptions through qualified research and experiences that reinforce their truths; their writing leaves an opening, so that a reader may come to think or believe or find an insightful way or course of action. This then becomes the building; how we might come to learn what the academic administrative systems try or not try to decree, how their actions effect us, according to an atmosphere of terror; terror being an implied word, presenting and implementing certain stipulations that accord an action on the part of the implementer; the leaning toward restrictions. This book takes on a huge subject and huge questions are asked of the academics and Cavalho presents, to us the reader, some of the answers, some of the thoughtful dialogues and historical data; with a sense of integrity, with an understanding of what is
happening within our educational facilities that effect us, a nation of individuals.

Irene Koronas
Poetry Editor & Reviewer
Ibbetson Street Press
Poetry Editor
Wilderness House Literary Review

Monday, March 23, 2009

Going Home. A Horror Story. Lawrence Millman

Going Home

A Horror Story

by Lawrence Millman

sunnyoutside, Buffalo, NY

Copyright 2008 Lawrence Milman

ISBN 978-1-9345513-15-6

Paperback 25 pages $8

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

Lawrence Millman calls this a horror story which it well may be based on three things: the story, the mother and Millman's writing. That is not to say Millman's writing is a horror. In fact the exact opposite. He is very funny, very clever and very dead on. Not every Jewish mother is like Lawrence Millman's Going Home mother. However, I am sure there are many a Jewish male who may feel that their mother in some way or another - as cliche ridden as this may be - the kind of mother Peter's (the protagonist's) mother is. Even the hero's (??) name is central to the story which I refuse to giveaway because it is, as I said, very funny, very clever and very dead on.

As a horror story, Millman redefines what a horror is. It is a very funny and had me laughing out loud, not usual fare for horror. In fact, having read a few horror stories here and there, and not having read any of Millman's previous works (for which I now feel deprived), I would say he may be in a class of his own.

The Going Home characters are all too believable, particularly the interplay between Peter and mother. Their relationship is not unique in mother-son relationships, until of course, Millman adds his touch. Throughout the story Millman maintains crisp dialogue, tension coupled with humor and, of course, an ending that leaves you .... well, let's say, aware of the dark side of maternal instincts.

Reading this short story I definitely want to read at least some of Millman's eleven books. A book of his short stories, if they are anything like this would rival one of my favorite short story writers, Lawrence Block and putting Millman at that level says a lot for my like of this story. Read it and enjoy.

* Zvi Sesling is the editor of the Muddy River Poetry Review

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Review of The Tide Clock And Other Poems by Tanya Contos

Review of The Tide Clock And Other Poems by Tanya Contos, Somerset Hall Press, Boston, MA, 2008

By Barbara Bialick, author of TIME LEAVES (Ibbetson Street Press)

The beauty of The Tide Clock poems is the feeling you get as you undulate up through the lives of the people of the sea, where life and death are intrinsic to the scene (like shards of glass or a seal’s carcass)—then you sadly partake of the collectables and dryness of the landlocked, for whom death is sickening like a dead grandmother’s “mummy”-like wig in an attic found by a curious little boy. Similarly, “great grandmother cannot sleep…”as you lie on her old bed: “In her portrait she wears black bombazine/and a Byzantine virgin-martyr’s air of noble resignation.”
In contrast, near the ocean: in “Midnight Swim”, “The new moon slices the sky like a scythe/and scatters its harvest of hundreds of stars/across the dark water in sight of the beach.”

As you end the book, you will probably feel compelled to start it all over again, as if it is the circle of life, for her ancestors, as well as a relative or a past love who died, with the tide recorded on The Tide Clock: “Until (everything could change, with a new man friend?) then your tide clock tells me/whether the rocks are submerged or exposed/at the spot on the point where they scattered your ashes.”

Even the family set of Dresden angels has suffered as they moved “for better than half a century in transit/in trunks of cars and holds of ships…the cellist and the violinist/contemplate their broken bows/as if there must be some mistake/…the only one intact/is the conductor/her perfect palm is raised/…she seems to say Look I know I know but play”

In this intriguing collection, the author is the conductor, as she brings you these vignettes of ocean people, their “flotsam” and how they react to moving “off island”… She concludes along the way that “the land has a heartbeat as strong as the tide” as the old-timers and the almanac have said. “We take this on faith,/we listen anxiously, straining against the wind.”

But as she points out in her preface, she’s “someone who can barely breathe, much less write, more than a few miles from open water…” This would be a good book to take with you on a personal voyage to the sea, or to grab if you live there all the time.
The book’s glossy cover has a beautiful and mysterious orange figure rising up near an ocean, a painting by George Kordis, that is as fascinating to study as are the poems within.

--Barbara Bialick, author of TIME LEAVES (Ibbetson Street Press)

Self-Portrait With Severed Head by CD COLLINS

Self-Portrait with Severed Head
CD Collins
Ibbetson St. Press
Copyright 2009
Pages =56


A thoroughbred herself, CD’s dedication (epigraph) for the book underscores her love of contradictions and her canny sense of humor; not to mention her love of horses:

She ran with the heart of a locomotive,
On champagne-glass ankles.”
From a Washington Post writer on the death of Eight Belles
from fractured ankles.

The book’s production, with a violet and black cover of a dark-haired woman lying dead or unconscious and a woman on the upper-right holding a camera between her naked knees sets up the use of photography in the collection: four gorgeous abstract b&w photos marking the four sections: “Element,” “Spoken Songs,” “Incognito,” and “Prodigal.”
(The “Spoken Songs” section opens with an on-stage shot of CD at Berklee College of Music.)

In this book there is an almost perfect fusing or alternation between narrative memory, rhymed and unrhymed, and pop-culture imagery and dream. The musicality and the female presence or essence is strong. It’s like Chrissie Hynde’s wailing: “Gonna use my arms, gonna use my legs, gonna use my style….” And while CD sure knows how to spin a story and create beautiful metaphors in and around it, she herself never leaves the poem, as if it were a special room she won’t leave unlocked.

“I love the fragrance of grease
from exhaust fans
into the winter morning,
walking past on my way to the factory,
how steam billows into clouds
my hands
two blue stars
in my coat pockets.” P. 7, “Subtracting Down”

Hands, her hands, the labor of hands, is a popular theme in this book – used literally and metaphorically. As if, jolted from a nightmare or a surreal dream, CD always finds her own hands to recognize her humanity and reality of self. Eyes are the other mighty part of the body—as she says, “they shoot with a camera instead” – talking about hunters in “Moon Again.” Or, in the poem “Diamonds,” she writes:


are so necessary,
for cutting emeralds, rubies, glass
the perfect substance for the task.
Give me diamond chips in a velvet box.
I’ll grind them with my eyes to dust.”

And in the poem “Everyeye,” a signature poem for the collection, she writes:

“I can see but my eyes are closed.
I can see but I keep my eyes in my pocket.” P. 24

In the title poem, “Self-portrait with a Severed Head,” CD displays what Joni Mitchell once wrote was “the hope and hopelessness I’ve witnessed all these years….” It is an example of a brilliant juxtaposition that Collin’s uses to startle us into reflecting throughout the book:

At first she says: “To touch is to change.” And that freedom to love, to intertwine, to “finish a lover” as she says in a later poem, seems the essence of sensual bond and hope. But the poem ends with a very different image:

“I imagine all our cascading faces
smiling larger than ourselves,
fixed and absorbed through my eye,
and think how small
our souls must be by now.”

When hunters “shoot with a camera instead” this seems a metaphor for poetry also, for it is a means of survival and sometimes a way of the thief, capturing the world around him/her, when the world has no real choice but to be captured. That is also a way of describing the craft of poetry, I think, though others might disagree. And it also seems an allusion to the photos in the book that serve as exquisitely strange place marks.

Again in spoken songs, CD infuses her dry (maybe Southern?) humor into an epigraph: a popular joke to some in the world of celebrity tracking. But the joke serves only as the tip of a poem that is about much more. It’s called “The Blues.”

“If Mama Cass had given Karen Carpenter that ham sandwich, they’d both be alive today.”

I must admit, never having heard the joke, I had to giggle. It’s so absurdly funny the way we know that Mama Cass died on a ham sandwich and Karen Carpenter died of self-starvation.

The actual story of the poem intermixes memories of high school parties and her relationship to the boys, the boys that may or may not have been sent off to the Vietnam War.

“You needed to be smaller than him
so he could protect you,
Once he starved himself for a month,
eating only bananas.
He was a pacifist.
He looked like Jesus,
With his long hair and suffering face.” P. 32

She invokes the music of Abbey Road and Purple Haze, Janis Joplin
And the sit-com characters Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore…

“You listened to their voices,
Described them like wine.
At least they had voices,
you seemed to lose yours,
drinking White Russians in snowstorms, running fast….”

p. 31 The Blues

And then the joke at the beginning; the fateful twist of Mama Cassie’s choking and Karen Carpenter’s anorexia comes down to hunger, famine even, or cannibalism that we all eat each other’s faces and images and stardom somehow: Or want them, or sacrifice for them. There are martyrs and there are Queens and it doesn’t matter when you’re young, you “eat them” because you actually want, as CD has brilliantly and through years of evolution found, her own voice.

“It was Karen singing,
in the end she looked like your old boyfriend, Jesus.
You are starving,
And she is singing,
And this is what you ate.”

p. 33 The Blues

“Spanish Mountain” – one of my favorite more abstract poems takes the landscape and objects of a foreign land as metaphors for other things: For me, it gives the section a fine Mediterranean glaze:

“Roof tiles are candysticks
Sun is white smoke
God is brown dust
Marble chip is dawn shard
Sleep is colossus.”

p. 35 Spanish Mountain

There are fairies in the gloaming, there are her mother’s old dogs she hears over and over despite their absence, there is always a CD finding her heart against a severed head but dangling that head into so many road maps we can barely fathom it. She is one of the best poets at word play I have read in years and her feminine intuition is matched by her great respect for the grounded strength of the real world. I would highly recommend you read this book, from Doug Holder’s indie operation that gains depth, range and excellence every year in its writers works. Brava to CD Collins.

Lo Galluccio is a writer and vocal artist who lives in Cambridge, MA

**********To order CD COLLINS' book go to

Boston National Poetry Month Festival April 4 2009




Now In Its Successful NINTH!!! Year

CO-SPONSORS: Tapestry of Voices & Kaji Aso Studio in partnership with the Boston Public Library, SAVE the DATE, Saturday, April 4th 10:00 A.M.- 4:45 P.M. OPEN MIKE: 1:30 to 4:00P.M. The Festival will be held at the library’s main branch in Copley Square. FREE ADMISSION

53 Major and Emerging poets will each do a ten minute reading; ALSO

Featuring six extraordinarily talented prize winning high school students: Dianna Willard & Joshua Mejia from Boston Latin High School; Yolanda Cruz, Peter Li & Yamira Serret: Boston Arts Academy; Gabriella Fee: Walnut Hill School for the Arts. These student stars will open the Festival at 10:00 A.M. SAM CORNISH, Boston’s current and first Poet Laureate will open the formal part of the Festival at 11:00 A.M. 52 additional major and emerging poets will follow with a


Some of the many luminaries include SAM CORNISH, Diana Der Hovanessian, Richard Wollman, Jennifer Barber, Afaa M. Weaver, Barbara Helfgott-Hyett, Dan Tobin, Ellen Steinbaum, Charles Coe, Ryk McIntyre, Elizabeth McKim, Regie O’Gibson, Kate Finnegan, Michael Bialis, Gary Tucker, (Kaji Aso Studio), Marc Widershien, Sandee Story, CD Collins, Marc Goldfinger, Diana Saenz, Stuart Peterfreund, Valerie Lawson, Joseph DeRoche, Frannie Lindsay, Ifeanyi Menkiti, Dick Lourie , Mark Pawlak, Lainie Senechal, Harris Gardner, Joanna Nealon, Susan Donnelly, Irene Koronas, Doug Holder and a Plethora of other prize winning poets.

This Festival has it all: Professional published poets, celebrities, numerous prize winners, student participation, OPEN MIKE.
Even more, it is about community, neighborhoods, diversity, Boston, and Massachusetts. This popular tradition is one of the largest events in Boston’s Contribution to National Poetry Month. FREE ADMISSION !!!
FOR INFORMATION: Tapestry of Voices: 617-306-9484 or 617-723-3716
Library: 617-536-5400

Wheelchair accessible. Assistive listening devices available. To request a sign language interpreter, or for other special needs, call 617-536-7855(TTY) at least two weeks before the program date.

The Book of Colors and Painters by Korkut Onaran

The Book of Colors
And Painters
Korkut Onaran
Cervena Barva Press
1007 Chapbook Award Winner 7.00

Review by Irene Koronas

Korkut Onaran creates in two parts; the first part imparts how the artist thinks about colors. “then, what remains is reflected on the water surface.” each color, each pigment, represents his personal perspective, “like phallic flowers” or “black has brought titanic silences.”

In part two we meet the painters; chagall:

“…the full moon is taking them into a pool
of blue, a deep dark bright blue,
and they swim in it
eating the plums, the grapes,
eating the tiny bananas,

and they speak of the flowers
-word by word, the flowers-
and they speak like fireworks…”

we meet Paul Klee:

“full moon
into the pond
and bounces

then touches the window
glows on the ceiling
lands on child’s cheeks
and enters his dreams…”

This chapbook is bound to call attention to itself and to you the reader who will enjoy all the implications of color.