Saturday, July 24, 2010

Desolation Paradise by William James Austin

Desolation Paradise
by William James Austin

Desolation Paradise
by William James Austin
Koja Press, 2006, $15, 89 pages, paperback
Copyright © 2006 by William James Austin and Koja Press
ISBN-13 978-0-9773698-2-9

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

On the back of this volume of poetry it states, “It has been said that Austin continues Allen Ginsberg and Frank O’Hara where they left off, surpassing them both. That is a bit far fetched, as is some of the poetry in this book. Take these lines:

jesse, your electron
quantum on stage
the crusade of desire
to inform
palpable thighs

I turned you off.
you turned me down.
you called me “subatomic”
laughing as you walked away
from me
on prince street
where engines collided,
skin and steel –
I watched you
day after day
under hospital florescent,
navigating swells
of nurse white—

witnessed your eyes
when they opened
“why are you here?”
“I love you”

Well, you get the point. This is just a part one of his more poems, not too related to Ginsberg or O’Hara, but none the less an interesting segment from both an interesting poem and book.

In the bio on the author it says, in addition to books, poems, essays, etc. that Austin “composed music and lyrics for Lou Rawls, the fusion group: Hammer, an embarrassing television sitcom and other rock and jazz beez and wannabeez.” At the time of the book
he was an Associate Professor of English and Philosphy, among other things at SUNY, Farmingdale. Reading this book, I wish I had been one of his students.

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