Saturday, November 16, 2013

Eating Grief at 3 A.M. by Doug Holder

     Eating Grief at 3 A.M.
     by Doug Holder
     Muddy River Books
       Sometimes you must follow
       The rat's path
       The vagrant,
      The scrawled invective of the graffiti
      The flow of some muddy, godforsaken creek
      Before you can truly

      ~ "Abandoned Warehouses"

Review by Robin Stratton-- Boston Literary Magazine

When you open a volume of poetry and the first one is dedicated to Allen Ginsberg, man, you know you've stumbled onto something great. That's why it should come as no surprise that Eating Grief at 3 A.M. by Doug Holder is one of those rare collections with every poem as delicious as the stack of syrup-saturated pancakes you used to tuck into at Bickford's in the wee hours of the morning. (You were just a kid—in your twenties—and didn't get indigestion, and the coffee didn't keep you awake all night or make you get up ten times to pee.) On the menu are poems that nail the groove of those days, from admitting to ourselves that we wanted just a little to kill the brutally well-meaning father in Father Knows Best, and the cat who abruptly interrupts a languid existence to venture out to the street (and gets run over) to a bloody mugging in Times Square, a final showing of Rocky Horror, and the lament of a stockbroker chained to his office in a high rise. I had to laugh at Holder's frank chagrin at the "cloying cheap chirp" of an early morning songbird (secretly, I share his helpless rage.) The writing, of course, is breathtaking; stylish and elegant, like the cook himself, but with the unexpected bite of an otherwise polite terrier. But poets beware! You will be jealous! Possibly suicidal! Remember how Beach Boy Brian Wilson was partway through what he envisioned would be the greatest rock album of all time when he heard Sgt. Pepper? He ditched Smile and went into seclusion for about a decade. Reading Eating Grief at 3 A.M. is kind of like that. So yeah, Mr. Holder, we sort of want to kill you just a little, too.

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