Thursday, February 15, 2007

Review of Poems For Dave Tronzo by Lo Galluccio

By Lo Galluccio

Lo Galluccio’s “Poems For Dave Tronzo” is a small, self-published chapbook containing nine poems. (There is no price listed on the book.) The no-frills design, the typeface and its spatial relation to the page give the poems a sense of intimacy and immediacy even before reading. The line lengths vary in the poems, some lines ranging five to seven beats, some four or less. Galluccio lets the content give form to the poems, which adds visual as well as poetic spice to the book.
It would be helpful to the general reader if there were a title page with some mention of who Dave Tronzo is (an acclaimed New York-based guitarist known especially for his slide work, hence the cover photo) and perhaps why the book was “for” him. Beyond this minor quibble, this reviewer found the poems bursting with arresting imagery. From “The Color of January” we find:

Sometimes you say I’m a hot hot star in your bed. “What color would
you like me to be?” you ask. I say, “Blue.”

Galluccio’s images and language suggest a vision of poetry that is Rimbaudian and Orphic. She pushes her language. The language takes risky leaps, pushing off like a ballerina performing a tours en l’air and landing like a kung-fu fighter inches from your face.
Here are the first three stanzas of “Itinerary”:

Past castles in Brabant. Thirsty I drink a sweet dream of union.
My horse, a thief

In Gent. Pale fish serve as my communion. As symbols
go in eyes streaming where they went.

A hell topless and civilized extremely like Paris,
a cabdriver screws off his head.

Like I said, Rimbaudian; the imagery is surreal, dreamlike and haunting, as in “A Terror In Spring”:

I believed in silence but you
Kept opening up my mouth.
When your tongue finished foraging,
Words fell out like old shoes.
These words put tracks on your

The poem ends with these tasty lines:

Levitation is not the same as resurrection.

It takes faith.

I’m nobody,
and I use a pen.

This reviewer particular enjoyed “Your Amsterdam”, a poem more compact but no less charged by elevated language. Here it is in full:

I think I thought
I lived there
In a courtyard with pink
Flush egg lights
Where birds
Erupt at looping

Barbed wire

And finding you
at a table—
alabaster face
risen over a grey bowl

My penitent kiss
to your forehead

gets pierced.

“Poems For Dave Tronzo” is a chapbook to savor. To cop a line from the speaker of “Three Dollar Poem,” you will come back and say yes, baby, yes.

--Richard Wilhelm
Ibbetson Update

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