Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Secret Admirer by Kyle Flak

The Secret Admirer
by Kyle Flak
Copyright 2010 by Kyle Flak
Adastra Press
Easthampton, MA 01027
Softbound, 20pages, $16.00
ISBN 10: 0-9822495-8-6
ISBN 13: 978-0-9822495-8-1

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

Some of the best poetry around is put out by small press publishers, among whom Adastra Press ranks as one of the best. Having read several of publisher Gary Metras’ offerings I was enthused to receive The Secret Admirer by Kyle Flak for review.

Once again Metras has not let me down. Flak a Michigan native who was educated at Northern Michigan University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. As a poet Flak falls somewhere between Jim Carroll and Charles Bukowski: tough, gritty, direct, honest (?), a few drinks and some drugs thrown in and sometimes sentimental but almost always an exciting adventure to read.

Most of the poems are culled from Flak’s apparently adventuresome life opening with “When We Were Both Sixteen” and following with titles such as “What Grunge Was About,” “Guys Night Out,” and the title poem, “Secret Admirer,” among others.

My personal favorite is “After A Stay in the County Jail”

It was hamburgers & dill pickles
all over again. You in a
gingham skirt high above
the knee, squirting
ketchup in the
picnic sunshine. “Look!
five seagulls are
hopping over
this way!”
you said, and I just spooked
them off with a
big, red kickball, laughing.
Laughing because it’s so nice
to finally have a
problem that isn’t
really a problem.

There is also an absolute favorite: “Amherst, Massachusetts”

Emily Dickinson calls me up at midnight to
ask if I want to really get stoned and
watch old wrestling videos.

“Just let me
put some pants on, Emily. I’ll be
right over.”

My car is a yellow Camaro.

There are French fries all over
the floor.

I turn on the headlights.

And zoom on over

to see the only girl in town
who still know what poetry

is all about.

Anytime you can take the iconic Ms. Dickinson, throw in Ms. Maryjane you have a poet who also (in addition to the attributes I mentioned earlier) can conjure up some fun reading.

Methinks Gary Metras knows what poetry is all about and his meticulously handmade books of which this one is letterpress printed, sewn and bound by hand by Metras (with some help from the author). The production takes about three months and is worth keeping not just because there are only 200 copies and this is a first edition, but because
the whole shebang is a true work of art.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:01 PM

    Must say, I read this book and you got it all right. It is a beautiful book in every way. Cheers to Kyle and to Gary.