Monday, February 07, 2011

Review of “Gesangvoll – Songful” poetry by Hugh Fox

(Hugh Fox)

Review of “Gesangvoll – Songful” poetry by Hugh Fox

Pudding House Chapbook Series

ISBN 1-58998-812-4


Review by Samantha Milowsky

The opening poem “Gesangvoll - Songful” is a compressed neighborhood scene on a “neolithic Chicago Street” that “became a transplanted history channel province.” The poem is an indicator of where the chapbook is headed with a tapestry of characters and narratives, employing a compressed and humorous style.

In the poem “Always,” there are surprising assertions such as “Incas spoke Arabic,” and a questioning of identity, what informs it, especially with different ethnic groups and cultures living together and mixing languages. The speaker humorously ponders “maybe they should call it The United Wanderers from Everywhere instead of the United States of America.”

There is joyful, neurotic rambling in the poem “Afraid,” asserting “I’m not afraid of DEATH, because I believe in reincarnation,” which leads to questioning what the speaker may be reincarnated into. Perhaps “a beauty next time…or an Einstein…Ein, one, Stein, stone… lots of pebbles in that head.” Or perhaps reincarnated into a disembodied nirvana with “pizza forever, no weight to loose.” It is an acknowledgement of the power of belief, at least to quell fear, while also being a bit funny about it.

There is enjoyable wordplay throughout. In “Quarter to Nine,” there is apocalyptic humor in “Planet Earth is about to implode in/on itself and then move from/im/to/ex?” and in “Leaving,” the sarcasm of “getting Rest in Peace tickets to what’s the noseless, eyeless, breathless difference?”

There are also painterly translated poems of the poet’s. In “Sendo Felix/Being Happy” the poet extols:

Being happy, only this, nothing

else, nothing out the future or

past, nothing about “isms” or

“atics,” pre- or almost- human bones,

kings, the hungry, only the aggressively

green hills, the clouds, birds floating

between the clouds like butterflies,

miniature paintings, flying over the

hills themselves.

I recommend Gesangvoll - Songful for the achievement of scope in short poems, the rich narrative of a multi-cultural experience, the humorous contemplation of life and aging, and the beauty of the poems’ lines

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