Monday, January 17, 2011

Review of ACROSS STONES OF BAD DREAMS by Zvi A. Sesling

Review of ACROSS STONES OF BAD DREAMS by Zvi A. Sesling, Cervena Barva Press, P.O. Box 440357, W. Somerville, MA 02144-3222, cover art by William J. Kelle, 39 pages, 2011, $7.

Review by Barbara Bialick

This great chapbook is about the giant dumpster of memory in the realm of past loves gone dead. The image of death carries right into the end, where Sesling imagines heaven as a welcoming place with a beautiful aquamarine sky like his mother’s ring…and yet there are his mother and father and relatives still instilling guilt and criticism and where “Piles of ancestors like old newspapers in the basement/will present themselves as headlines for me to acknowledge,…the sun yellow as the stars my aunts, uncles, cousins wore.” Only “Dogs from my past will bound forward through green fields,/tails wagging a quick metronome to their happy bark…”

That’s a heavy ending, and yet the sad, angry, sardonic but wry, and rye light touches of getting dumped by or dumping his past loves, even a son, carries you to the end with the voice of an experienced and knowing writer’s careful use of language. This whole collection works.

Back to the dumpster. “In this dumpster are all the dumped people, lovers, wives/husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends/old friends, acquaintances,/parents, children/,,,crushed like grapes…waiting for a chance to be rescued, dumped again.”
Sesling even feels dumped by the brother he does not have—“The brother who does not/exist is the shadow that/follows in the streets/or the rooms I enter/he never cries for me”.

Zvi Sesling, who recently published “King of the Jungle” (Ibbetson Street Press), is the editor of the “Muddy River Poetry Review”. He has published poetry in “Midstream”,
“Saranac Review,” “Voices Israel Anthology,” “Cyclamen and Swords” and many others. In 2007 he received First Prize in the Reuben Rose International Poetry Competition.

To buy this book, which I hope you do, go to Cervena Barva’s bookstore at

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