Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pickled Dreams Naked poems by Norman Stock

Pickled Dreams Naked
poems by Norman Stock
NYQ Books
New York, New York
Copyright © 2010  by Norman Stock
105 pages, softbound, $14.95
ISBN: 978-1-935520-30-6
Vera Pavlova was born in Moscow. She graduated from the Gnessin Academy, specializing in the history of music, and is the author of fourteen collections of poetry, four opera librettos, and lyrics to two cantatas. Her works have been translated into eighteen languages
Review by Zvi A. Sesling

the smelly feet of poetry
the running nose the ripped trousers
the bleeding pimples the disfigured faces
of the sick is what poetry
is trying to get at, the sonnet about nothing at all that is beautiful
disorganized elbows and old people asleep
the covers covering them the comforts of infants
is what poetry must make itself out of, there isn’t anything else

This is the poem Prosaic from Norman Stock’s volume of poetry.  Poets may or may not agree with Stock’s definition, but it certainly is a thought provoking eight lines which may or may not help one evaluate their own or others poetry. In fact, it is possible the entire book will be liked or not liked, help or not help evaluation of poetry or one’s own lines.

Here is another poem entitled At a Boring Poetry Reading the reader may or may not find humorous or insulting:

They read the audience to death.
These poets use live ammunition, their words, to weaken us.
Are they trying to put us to sleep or are they trying to keep themselves up
by droning on and on? Instead of listening, all I’m doing is waiting for them to stop.
The applause will be like glass breaking, the glass they are enclosing us in.
It is as if they tied their shoes in front of us just to show us they could tie their shows
      in front of us!
O save me from this scatterbrain orderliness, this posture of beheading.
Will this reading never end? Will I have to listen forever
or can I find a chink in the wall of my own mind that I can crawl into, just to get
      away from this disaster, this dying, this voicelessness?

Now this makes me wonder what kind of reading Stock gives and how his audience reacts to his performance.  In fact, how does any audience react to poems read by poets other than those of higher stature, for example, Collins, Oliver, Ostriker, Ashbery, or others? 

Well if you think Stock complains too much, this book is really one of numerous complaints as in Money Song:

money money everywhere
in the sky and in the sea
everywhere, it’s just money
falling from the leaves and trees
all the different currencies
down they come and up they go
it’s a constant undertow
everywhere I look I see
every kind of currency
it’s too much to get and spend
will it ever have an end
only in the grave where you
will have spent all that you’re due

Stock’s view of women is not always, shall we say, politically correct.  In The Tall Woman of Dreams he writes a woman so tall she is invisible—does mean women should be seen and not heard?  Or, as the final line states “…the woman whose size was infinite and who was all over/everything and everywhere”   means they [women] are all pervasive and intruding?

Then again read the night about me restless where the poet completes his three couplets with “the distance and the slowness and veering/her up, so she will not be seen or noticed or known

Now let me say there has been some praise for Stock for being wry, wacky, humorous, and having sardonic wit—these quotes from the back of the book.  And if you like that kind of writing, you might enjoy his offerings.

Zvi A. Sesling
Reviewer for Boston Small Press and Poetry Scene
Author, King of the Jungle (Ibbetson Street Press)
Author,  Across Stones of Bad Dreams (Cervena Barva Press)
Author, Fire Tongue (forthcoming, Cervena Barva Press)
Editor, Muddy River Poetry Review Online Poetry Journal
Editor, Bagel Bards Anthologies 7& 8

Publisher, Muddy River Books

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:23 PM

    I think this reviewer has seriously misread my work and lacks a sense of humor. Also, there are several mistakes in spacing in the second poem quoted and in the last poem mentioned its should be "covering her up," not "veering her up." Despite the negative tone, he is even-handed in quoting a few poems and leaving it up to the reader, but that's not much of a review.