Wednesday, December 08, 2010
The Immaculate Conception Mother’s Club
by David R. Surette
Softbound, 85 pages, No Price Indicated
Copyright © 2010 by David R. Surette
Review by Zvi A. Sesling
There are far too many poets who simply are not accessible, whatever that means. Perhaps it what down south they call “high falutin’ language.” Perhaps it is what some
consider “academic poetry,” “obscure” poetry or “confusing” poetry. With David R.
Surette, none of these apply. He is easily accessible and straight to the point.
I have had never read Surette before, nor had I see him read. Now I am sorry that I
had not done both. Surette lives and teaches in southeastern Massachusetts, but his
poetry in this volume is based in Malden, Massachusetts. It is down to earth, gritty,
honest, capable of making a reader whose past is similar associate quite readily with
his poetry. In fact, the poetry is a series of vignettes, incidents from the poet’s life,
experienced like a Mark Wahlberg movie. The best part is, you don’t have to be
Catholic to dig him and his poetry.
And if Catholic means universal, then Surette can universally touch readers of every
persuasion, even atheists.
Here is one page from a book of 85 pages:
The Boston Arena
It was another penalty in a career of penalties.
He chopped the forearms of a winger speeding by.
“Two minutes, slashing,” barked the ref.
He snapped. He choked up on his stick, cocked
it, and with all his strength, sent it
helicopting through the air,
clearing the boards, the glass,
climbing higher and higher,
until pausing at its apex, descended,
still spinning, cracking a woman in the head,
knocking her out.
The woman was the kid’s mother.
What are the odds?
He had sent his stick spinning into the stands,
all 4,000 waiting seats, maybe 200 occupied,
and hit his own mother.
The ref tacked on a 10-minutes misconduct.
The rumor spread that, after school, he hooked up
with the mob, collecting, leg breaking, but that
was the rumor for every tough Italian kid we knew.
Maybe he believed he was fated for the work
foreshadowed by that day when
even his own mother didn’t love him.
If there is a weakness in Surette’s poetry, some of the poems have last lines that perhaps should have been deleted, but the poem itself is still worth the read. In fact, this is a book
one should keep, put on the bookshelf and periodically open to read some of the poems.