Review by Zvi A. Sesling
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Snakebit Kudzu by Murray Shugars
by Murray Shugars
Copyright 2013 by Dos Madres Press inc.
Dos Madres Press
Loveland OH 45140
Softbound, 57 pages, no price
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