Thursday, March 21, 2013

Snakebit Kudzu by Murray Shugars

Snakebit Kudzu

by Murray Shugars

Copyright 2013 by Dos Madres Press inc.

Dos Madres Press

Loveland OH 45140

Softbound, 57 pages, no price

ISBN 978-1-933675-90-9

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

Murray Shugars presents us with his songs of the south – dogwood, Mississippi heat, mockingbirds. But we also get a bit of Michigan and “Big Lake,” Ravenna and a taste of New Orleans jazz. We also learn Shugars’ version of history: Christopher Marlow shot by a jealous husband in an SUV, some bossa nova poetry that leaves a smile and on and on. There are poems utilizing various devices such as with humor or seriousness or both make his point.

Take for example How To Kill A Tree:

When you decide to fell

the dogwood behind the house,

do it quickly. Saw it at the roots

and watch it fall

Don’t limb the tree—dropping

first the dead branches, then

the dying—and let it stand

alone on that hill, a brare trunk

with two raised arms

cut off at the elbows.

Don’t leave it there

naked in the Mississippi heat,

saying one cool morning

you’ll finish the job.

Or try the poem The Eccentric Motions Of The Bossa Nova

I found the five

unanswered equations of Apollonius of Perga

scrawled on a blank page in the dictionary of God

I found a formula

for the eccentric motions of celestial lovers

and the unrequited desire of planets.

I found the names of conic sections,

the date of each birth and death.

I found the tangents and harmonic

divisions of the bossa nova.

I think Tom Jobim wrote those notes.

In another poem, How To Judge A Poet we learn different views of what it takes to write verse:

When you meet a poet

outside G&L’s in Muskegon, Michigan,

where all the poets eat

the best goddamn chilidogs

anyone has ever had,

Now, if you want to find out how to judge a poet, better grab copy of this book and read the rest of the poem.

Shugars has a way of making his point. He is a different kind of poet, telling Federico Garcia Lorca to come to Vicksburg and walk the National Military Park together, or lump Plato and Ronald Reagan into one poem and in another presents you his bucket list.

Murray Shugars is a poet to savor, read slowly, more than once, sit back in that comfy stuffed chair, then crack a thin smile.


Zvi A. Sesling

Reviewer, Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene

Author, King of the Jungle and Across Stones of Bad Dreams

Editor, Muddy River Poetry Review

Editor, Bagel Bards Anthology 7

Editor, Bagel Bards Anthology 8

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