Thursday, August 04, 2011
Review of SUNSET AT THE TEMPLE OF OLIVES, POEMS BY PAUL SUNTUP,
Write Bloody Publishing, Long Beach, California, www.writebloody.com, 97 pages, $15
Review by Barbara Bialick
I think all you small press readers should buy a copy of this book SUNSET IN THE TEMPLE OF OLIVES so the author, Paul Suntup can impress on the public that he is worthy of fame in the greater poetry world. Billy Collins already took note of him in his book 180 MORE EXTRAORDINARY POEMS FOR EVERY DAY, 2005, by choosing “Olive Oil”, which also appears herein: “If there were olive oil cologne, I would wear it and if/there were olive oil goldfish, I would have two in a bowl on the/table For some reason, it is also a man swallowing lighter/fluid because the pain in his belly is bigger than the Kalahari/Desert….and sometimes it tastes like Brigitte Bardot...in the scene where she is sunning naked in Capri, an impossibly/blue ocean wrestling with the sky in the distance.”
Paul Suntup’s voice has elements from Billy Collins, Charles Simic and others who are even more surrealistic and bizarre, who I can’t quite name. The voice he is most like is himself, which includes funny, weird, dangerous, and surrealistic. His little “stories” remind me of those bizarre little John Lennon books we of a certain age used to covet. In “Amputee”, he writes, “Judy was born with a tiger at the end of each finger. When she was six, the tiger on the tip of her right index finger bit off the two middle fingers of her left hand one night while she was sleeping…” For the upshot of the story, I say, buy the book.
Here’s another one, “In a Black Sky”: “There’s no relaxing here. The one they call Van Gogh empties the/salt shaker for the second time today. Small white planets are counted,/then arranged in miniature orbit around a Medjool date…The first thing I’m going to do is think/the world out of existence. I’ll start with the trees, then move on to/animals…Water can stay until I swim to Africa…find the bones of my ancestors, then I’ll/make them disappear too. I’ll keep going until there’s nothing left/but orange swirls in a black sky.”
I hope u can get a general idea from these clippings from his literary plant. He seems to have had some interesting life experience as well. Originally a native of South Africa, he currently lives in Southern California where he is a freelance web designer. Oh did I mention this book was nominated for a National Book Award? In our world where money is so hard to keep, I would like to think Paul Suntup’s book is worth the fifteen dollars