Monday, January 10, 2011
REVIEW OF “WHAT TO DO WITH A DYING PARAKEET’ by Corey Cook,
17 pages, Pudding House Press Chapbook Series, Pudding House Publications, 81 Shadymere Lane, Columbus, Ohio 43213, www.puddinghouse.com, 2009, $10.
Review by Barbara Bialick
I love this perfect little chapbook, for each poem is succinctly edited, has excellent imagery and symbolism, and taken as a whole, the book expresses how death can’t take away the charmed images in his mind that affected his growing up and his coming of age. He considers not only the law of nature and the life cycle, as regards his grandparents, but the changeable stuff of American popular culture that went on at the time. He also manages to make one consider the morality of interfering with death in nature, as is symbolized in the poem “What to Do with A Dying Parakeet” and also “Spring”.
This would be a good book to bring to a poetry class or workshop to study or remark on. They actually have a “how to publish” ring to them. All the poems were first published in literary journals, then they were brought together in this book, which is just long enough. Each poem can stand on its own; it is not just a story told in a series of poems.
I agree with the publisher who writes to the reader: “You selected language art that took as long to create as paintings or other fine art.”
The first poem, “Sunday Mornings at Grammy and Grandpa’s” is full of detail “of floral couches and chairs, Grammy humming above a sizzling pan, spatula clacking. Meant/rubbing bare feet on the braided rug, Charles/Kuralt, Grandpa’s presence veiled by a robe/and the Valley News or the latest issue of Popular/Mechanics…”
But in “Thanksgiving” we learn of “the graveyard where Granddad is buried,” right near his house where “Grammy perches in her chair,/her back to a series of windows which look out/into the adjacent graveyard. She sits and smiles,/smiles and laughs in front of the windows, the family/headstone an unyielding omen behind her bald head.”
Corey Cook edits “The Orange Room Review” with his wife, Rachael. They live in Contoocook, New Hampshire with their daughter.