Thursday, August 09, 2012

Duckwalking Is The Only Way Out Of Armageddon by Dustin Holland

Duckwalking Is
The Only Way Out
Of Armageddon
by Dustin Holland
Kanev Books
New York
Copyright © 2012 by Dustin Holland
ISBN: 978-0-937131-19-7
Softbound, 119 pages, $10.95

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

The enigma of Dustin Holland is: is he putting us on, or is he serious?  My guess,a little of both. He is funny, perhaps experimental, with undertones of seriousness that the reader needs to find for him/herself.  For example In Capitalist Anxieties:

poetry is
handed out on
street corners
no one is starving
doctors and food
for everyone
shoes and warm
property is a
myth in the business
man’s nightmares
war is over
and the earth
still has room
for the human race
the banks and
ammunitions factories
are closed
while supermarkets
and libraries
open up
everywhere without
cash registers
the streets are art
galleries in
bad dreams full of
smiling masses
swapping stories
in what used to be
government buildings
and television studios

This poem presents what appears as a humorous poem, but as you read and re-read it the
seriousness which may also seem as obvious as the humor, suddenly hits you – Holland is writing about a future utopia, but is that utopia only in Holland’s head? Is it the anti-Orwell utopia. Is it a libertarian view?  Is it green? Is post-apocalyptic?  What exactly is Holland’s message to us?  Is he prophet or fool?  Like a law school challenge, any answer might be correct.  What do think?

There are more poems of humor intertwined with horror with titles like Lenny Bruce Is Not Afraid, Cartoon Villains, Disgruntled, I’m The Child, A Dramatic Think Establishing Elizabethan Liberation/Revolution,  02750, Listening To John Cage’s Fonatana Mix and many others you cannot help but revel in.

Take one of the shortest poems: All

art if
you can call
it that
is meant
to be

So much truth in so few words, 13 to be exact, in which he puts down critics, people who speak loudly about art in a museum and the modern gobbledygook art of Pollack, the neo pointillism of Lichtenstein, perhaps even Picasso or any other number modern artists for whom a critic’s explanation is necessary for the average viewer to understand and the ultimate put down of the critics who determine whats is good or great and what is a trash.

In many poetry books you may get interesting ways to use words, or you might be challenged by the poet or perhaps you get political statements buried in verse. Rarely do you get all three.  However, Dustin Holland has risen above the ordinary, beyond the dull or romantic, away from the everyday and presented a book you will have to read a few times to absorb the many facets of his writing.  In the end, you will enjoy the time spent with it. And at $10.95 it is a bargain (also available as an ebook).


Zvi A. Sesling is author of Across Stones of Bad Dreams (Cervena Barva, 2011), King of the Jungle (Ibbetson Street, 2010)  and the forthcoming Fire Tongue (Cervena Barva). He is Editor of Muddy River Poetry Review and Bagel Bards Anthology #7.

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