Becca Menon Reviews Cartoon Molecules

 

Don’t read this book. Swim in it.
 
We’re all always floundering through the frequently fetid waters
of jargon, cliché and manipulation around us anyhow.
But in Cartoon Molecules , you plunge into –
or sometimes get knocked over by – bracing waves.
 
Like, let’s say Greekish words in  Cartoon Molecules
– Proem – bowl you over.
 
Okay, just hold your breath and hang on, because who’s splayed out there on the shoals speaking up for you?
 
The least pretentious fellows you ever met, Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
They’re as clueless as you:

 
ditto – we know not what we do
dum    that’s what makes a story
  (Carton Molecules)

 
These pieces are pieces of everybody’s mind, not necessarily lovely, but that’s just one of the reasons they’re recognizable. Robin Ouzman Hislop opens the inside of his head,
and lo and behold, it turns out to be your own, stuck, as we all are,

 
here now
in time’s traffic jam
where all landscapes blend
 (Eternalism (power in the block universe)

 
and
 
words might have been our downfall
 
the voice that’s the voice in our head tries to shrug off the very language it is composed of, since
 
perhaps from now on
we should just go on
downstream
heading for the ocean’s waves
(Orphean Twist)

 
Bracing. Isn’t that the job of poetry?
 
~ Becca Menon, author of “The Riddle and The Sphinx” and others
 
 
 

www.BeccaBooks.com
 

 
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop & Amazon.com Author Robin Ouzman Hislop

Robin Marchesi Reviews Cartoon Molecules Collected Poems

 
 

Robin Ouzman Hislop’s “ Cartoon Molecules ” is a maze of semantic amazement, a true testament to the magic of words. His uniquely poetic perceptions mesmerise us, metaphysically, to the content of his work. He opens doors within us all not available in the mainstream logic of modern logic.
 

 
Hislop’s world goes much deeper, there are no grammatical or structural restrictions to his word flow for he is a literary law breaker. His words resonate with a unique melody that parodies the more surreal, yet equally relevant creations, of the earlier beat generation. It’s a poetry that leaves a haunting trace which may often spring unexpectedly to mind in the oddest moments of time and place. Try them and see for yourself!

 
 
Robin Marchesi, born in 1951, began writing in his teens, much to the consternation of his mother, the sister of Eric Hobsbawm, the historian.
 
In 1992 Cosmic Books published his first book entitled “A B C Quest”.
 
In 1996 March Hare Press published “Kyoto Garden” and in 1999 “My Heart is As…”
 
ClockTowerBooks published his Poetic Novella, “A Small Journal of Heroin Addiction”, digitally, in 2000.
 
Charta Books published his latest work entitled “Poet of the Building Site”, about his time working with Barry Flanagan the Sculptor of Hares, in association with the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
 
He is presently working on an upcoming novel entitled “A Story Made of Stone.”
 
Amazon.com A Small Journal of Heroin Addiction Robin Marchesi

 
 
Amazon.com Author Robin Ouzman Hislop
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Emanations from the Penumbra Collected Poems by EM Schorb Reviewed at PLT

Emanations front cover only Cover Painting “O Carib Isle” by the Author – ISBN: 978-0-692-03402-6
 
Editor’s Note: A short while ago EM Schorb contacted me for the address of a mutual friend, whose address he’d mislaid. Remembering i’d published a sonnet of his here in 2013, that later appeared in an anthology of sonnets Phoenix Rises from the Ashes, i promptly requested another contribution from him. One thing led to another and he kindly sent me a copy of his latest collection of poems.
 
Emanations from the Penumbra. Schorb is a prize winning poet having gained recognition and awards several times over ( see below in his bio), so it was with some trepidation i approached this work with the intention of presenting it at our PLT (Poetry Life & Times ) site. It opens with a quote Penumbra: The “Gray area where logic and principle falter” Hmm – it is in fact a corpus of poems, two hundred pages of them, written by a writer poet, – by that i mean, a person who writes extensively and writes poetry as well. Schorb has an excellent, polished and sophisticated technique in whatever manner he approaches a poetic theme and in Penumbra these are many and varied emanations. He is of course a writer/artist who hails from the USA and he covers widely from its socio historico background, everything from workers rights, the broken war hero to the persecution of blacks by whites. P196. Part 6. titled the same as the name of the collection, starts -/ Poets of my generation are turning up dead. A serial killer is injecting them with cancer heart disease and stroke / and ends / My generation think that this is a serial crime, but have no choice but to pull the ropes and toll the bell / Wow go figure – but as much as there is pessimism and cynicism, there are as many shades of mood together with a host of erudite literary reference ranging from Empson, Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound to Aristotle and Donne to name but a few. The fact that during the time i received and was reading this work, i also happened at the same time to be reading the classic Paterson by William Carlos Williams, i couldn’t help but find similarities and the recognition how a modern poet like Schorb has emerged out of the influences of such a great work in contemporary North American Literature. Carlos Williams set a trend for commentary on the mundane and current affairs in the city, whilst expanding into pure lyricalism, – and this is what happens in Schorb’s work, at least as i experienced it. In particular, i found a quote in Paterson, which Carlos Williams had seized upon, which i thought was entirely applicable to Schorb’s work in Emanations, i quote it here, {recognizing the harmony which subsists between crabbed verses and the distorted subjects with which they dealt – the vices and perversions of humanity, as well as their agreement with the snarling spirit of the satirist. Deformed verse was suited to deformed morality} – Studies of the Greek Poets, John Addington Symonds Vol: 1 P284. I could go on, the pathos of love, nihilism, spirituality are all covered by the poet and often brought out via descriptions of small scenic events like theater clips crafted into a free and flowing verse where the poet is speaking as often as not through another’s voice or persona – though sometimes we find self depreciation as in The Last Word at the end of Part 4. P121. / Edwin Makepeace Thackery Schorb / Wrote many words into his books /…./ Was quite mistaken in all he did /…/ What is the truth? Oh who knows? / Say this: He drank and had to go! / Lets hope he’s not gone forever and comes back. It’s impossible really to select favorites from such a ranging work but i liked especially The Isle of Langerhans P79. Written in vertical inter- facing columns, it makes the reader work hard at reading it and i think that’s important in modern poetry, why should poetry be made easy for the reader to read, it’s the struggle that counts. And here we present at PLT the particular poem Schorb has selected Because P169/70…/ the unicorn is an ungulate because they say so /… Robin Ouzman Hislop

 
BECAUSE
 
in the port-cities they have found everything out and
Aristotle-like have put everything into categories
and the unicorn is an ungulate because they say so
because the fine-print of the unreligious sun says we circle it
it is not for us but we for it because the moon hit us
and bounced off instead of was born of our first spin
because the ninth planet is an invading comet caught
and because there is no now and there never has been
 
because we look upon ourselves in savannas past
knuckling to water because we see the white lemming’s hole
in the snow smashed down by hooves and hear its pitiful
chirp of counter-aggression because the avalanche
indifferently buries the contested world of the snow
valley because stars die because we believe in facts
and because the deluge led to the ark because because
and because we bury our dead and dig up their bones
 
because the unsoundness of our judgments lead to sound
judgment and because facts are facts and we must reckon
and because the sea is cruel and because time flies
because the wind blows down our houses and because
we remember the snow hare and the hawk because
because the dove is taken in air by the eagle
and because space is either empty or full of dark matter
because galaxies hold for a long time their pinwheel-shapes
 
because time and space are curved and we can blow ourselves up
and because we blow ourselves up constantly and because
it makes us wonder because doesn’t it mean something
because we are riding a mud-ball through space because
we were born here and because we have categories and
because we dig up our bones and dogs dig our bones up
and because we are not even safe in pyramids because
we dig ourselves up and look upon our own bones
 

 
Biography
E. M. Schorb attended New York University, where he fell in with a group of actors and became a professional actor. During this time, he attended several top-ranking drama schools, which led to industrial films and eventually into sales and business. He has remained in business on and off ever since, but started writing poetry when he was a teenager and has never stopped. His collection, Time and Fevers, was a 2007 recipient of an Eric Hoffer Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing and also won the “Writer’s Digest” Award for Self-Published Books in Poetry. An earlier collection, Murderer’s Day, was awarded the Verna Emery Poetry Prize and published by Purdue University Press. Other collections include Reflections in a Doubtful I, The Ideologues, The Journey, Manhattan Spleen: Prose Poems, 50 Poems, and The Poor Boy and Other Poems.
 
Schorb’s work has appeared widely in such journals as The Yale Review, The Southern Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Chicago Review, The Sewanee Review, The American Scholar, and The Hudson Review.

 
At the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2000, his novel, Paradise Square, was the winner of the Grand Prize for fiction from the International eBook Award Foundation, and later, A Portable Chaos won the Eric Hoffer Award for Fiction in 2004.

 
Schorb has received fellowships from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the North Carolina Arts Council; grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, the Carnegie Fund, Robert Rauschenberg & Change, Inc. (for drawings), and The Dramatists Guild, among others. He is a member of the Academy of American Poets, and the Poetry Society of America.

 
PRIZE-WINNING BOOKS
BY E.M. SCHORB
Books available at Amazon.com
_______________________________________
 
Dates and Dreams, Writer’s Digest International Self-
Published Book Award for Poetry, First Prize
 
Paradise Square, International eBook Award
Foundation, Grand Prize, Fiction, Frankfurt Book Fair
 
A Portable Chaos, The Eric Hoffer Award for Fiction,
First Prize
 
Murderer’s Day, Verna Emery Poetry Prize, Purdue
University Press
 

Time and Fevers, The Eric Hoffer Award for Poetry
and Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book
Award for Poetry, each First Prize

 
 
Amazon.com Author Robin Ouzman Hislop
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop

Antonio Martinez Arboleda Reviews Cartoon Molecules Collected Poems

 
Cartoon Molecules. Robin Ouzman Hislop. Amazon.com is a brave philosophical and poetic exploration of humanity and the universe, advancing theories of time and space and technological utopias as well as questioning the singularity of humankind.
 
Hislop’s insightfulness is exuberant. He combines the analysis of the universe through the appreciation of the ephemeral instant with a variety of poetic forms. For instance, he provides sequences of human (or humanoid?) thought, by intelligently staging verse recurrence, notably in the poem “Human Simulation”, when the intertwining of shared words throughout several stanzas provides the baseline of the animation that the alterations of patterns depict, as in the form of sketches for TV cartoons. He also works with infinity mirror effect. The result of this experimental language is a reflection on the relativity of syntax and an invitation to imagine how advanced forms of computers would realise thought.
 
The cultural references, explicit and implicit, of this book are also worth noting: Kill Bill, the Luddites, Soap operas, Jesus, The Cradle Will Rock, Goya, Alice in Wonderland, Fitterman’s poetry, or Solaris place this book in a constant intertextual conversation full of irony and refinement.
 
With its ontologically congruent, meaningful and exciting modernism, coupled by more light and luminous verse, such as in the poem “Abandoned Island”, which I had the pleasure to translate into Spanish for CRÁTERA (Autumn 2017), alongside “Dream of the machine”, Cartoon molecules undresses humanity to the barebone to show its place in a world that we believe under our control.
 
Antonio Martínez Arboleda
 

 
www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/people/Spanish Portuguese and_Latin American Studies/Antonio Martinez Arboleda
 
Tony Martin-Woods.com/2017/08/27/Cartoon-Molecules

Fault Lines. Collected Poems Release. Symphony of the City. Video Poem. by Gary Beck.

 

 
 
Symphony of the City
 

Discordant orchestra
rent by untuned instruments,
the underlying hum of engines
sound the theme of endless din.
The clack of workmen moving pipes,
the bumpthump of delivery trucks,
the unrythmic thud of hammer,
the voices of children
cavorting in the playground
serenade the senses,
varied sensual sounds
interrupted by crash and bang,
handymen, repair crews,
horn-blowing motorists
aspiring to be soloists,
daytime throb of labor.
Nighttime crack of gunfire,
shrieks and howls
of citizens in torment
under constant assault,
reveal the melody
of your anguished composition.

 
 
fault-lines-cover-image
 
Fault Lines is a poetry collection that examines the disconnect, the unchallenged chaos, and the possible downfall of humanity.
 
‘Thoughtful, densely rich poems.’ – Archers Crown Magazine
‘Excellent, chilling, sobering. Great work.’ – Six Sentences Magazine
One of the poems was a Pushcart Prize nominee by Nazar Look Magazine
 
Fault Lines.Gary Beck. Amazon.Com
 
Gary pic
 
Facebook.com. @Author Gary Beck
Review of Fault Lines by Kindle Book Review Team member

 
Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks and 3 more accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions & Fault Lines (Winter Goose Publishing). Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications). His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing) and Call to Valor (Gnome on Pigs Productions). Sudden Conflicts will be published by Lillicat Publishers and State of Rage by Rainy Day Reads Publishing. His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.
 
 
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En el Oído del Viento. Collected Poems. Amparo Arrospide. Reviewed by Jose Antonio Pamies

 
Su antigua música el desdecir diciéndose
el vértice del miedo y su pregunta
al filo de un abismo
como si de prestado no viviésemos miedo
 
Ah no lo desconoces alguna vez de niño lo sentiste
bajo sábanas amargas o dichosas
de pronto alargar su dedo oscuro
 
el miedo amigo el miedo cómplice
restregando los flancos de otro día
barrenando certezas preguntándose aquí
cómo decirles nada cómo decir si aprietan
 
Otros imponen establecen recaudan
otros castigan evalúan deciden
otros deciden miedo
 
o nadie en absoluto ni una sola persona
y sin embargo sabes
frente al espejo sabes
callar lo sabes lo has aprendido al fin
 
Di qué pronto la costumbre nos arropa
qué pronto está debajo el escondite
y las vasijas frías del llorar
 
y el miedo nos sonríe tiritando
entrechocando dientes
cubiertos para un ya mudo comensal
tan yerto como tú que le prometes
vivir, seguir viviendo en miedo como siempre.
 
Amparo Arróspide, a poem from En el oído del viento (Baile del Sol, 2016)
 
 
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
 
 
Amparo Arróspide (Argentina) has published five poetry collections: Presencia en el Misterio, Mosaicos bajo la hiedra, Alucinación en dos actos y algunos poemas, Pañuelos de usar y tirar and En el oído del viento, as well as poems, short stories and articles on literature and films in anthologies and international magazines. She has translated authors such as Francisca Aguirre, Javier Díaz Gil, Luis Fores and José Antonio Pamies into English, together with Robin Ouzman Hislop, who she worked with for a period as co-editor of Poetry Life and Times, a Webzine. Her translations into Spanish of Margaret Atwood (Morning in the Burned House), James Stephens (Irish Fairy Tales) and Mia Couto (Vinte e Zinco) are in the course of being published, as well as her two poetry collections Hormigas en diáspora and Jacuzzi. She takes part in festivals, recently Transforming with Poetry (Leeds) and Centro de Poesía José Hierro (Getafe).
 
 

(EN EL OÍDO DEL VIENTO, Baile del Sol, 2016)
Amparo Arróspide
 
 
En el oído del viento es el último libro de poemas publicado por Amparo Arróspide, filóloga, traductora y poeta nacida en Argentina y radicada desde hace años en Europa. En esta colección de poemas nos ofrece un trabajo singular, innovador, sorprendente, coloreado por diversos registros y voces corales, sin perder el hilo conductor de una voz afianzada: “Y a salvo yo, lectora de la vida, esto que se mueve y me sucede, donde sucedo y no hay respuestas, ni siquiera búsqueda de respuestas, un afán inútil, donde presto mi oído atento al runrún de lo que pasa y va pasando.”
 
La realidad resuena en este oído y se nos ofrece traducida con distorsión, juegos del lenguaje y toques de ironía, quizá una de las mejores formas de poner de manifiesto la situación social que atravesamos sin caer en la queja panfletaria o el lamento repetitivo.
 
Y es que lo cierto y verdad es que “Hemos descreído del género mayor, ese rumiante ante la caja de los panegíricos con olor a violeta y forma de billete bancario.”
 
El libro está dividido en tres partes: “en el oído del viento”, “el mundo en fuga” y una tercera parte “a modo de epílogo”. Encontramos en muchos de estos poemas una poesía crítica con esa realidad exterior que sutilmente nos ha ido imponiendo su dictadura de lo políticamente correcto. Es tarea de la poesía desvelar los resortes de esas trampas para acceder a la verdad, a la esencia de una realidad que a menudo difiere bastante de las apariencias: “¿Ustedes nunca fueron vendidas compradas construídas/ paseadas por los medios de incomunicación?”
 
Los poemas se enfrentan a esa labor a través de ingeniosos mecanismos que denotan un buen trabajo con el lenguaje y con la semántica, dejando apreciar el valor textual de los poemas, a la vez que encuentran diversos tipos de paralelismos con la realidad exterior a la que refieren. En esa relación de contexto los versos se abren paso significando distorsionadamente, tratando con divertimento crítico acontecimientos que nos conciernen a todos los ciudadanos.
 
Una innovadora fusión de poéticas se nos revela aquí. Por un lado, encontramos preocupaciones y motivos de fondo que podrían resumirse en estas palabras de Enrique Falcón: “Mi verdadero conflicto: que me muerden mis versos, que no tengo país.” Y por otro lado, el magnífico trabajo con el lenguaje se acerca formalmente a una poesía conceptual, cercana a los concretistas y a algunas obras de Martín Gubbins o Ignacio Miranda en su tratamiento del lenguaje administrativo y burocrático, convertido en obra de arte mediante el talento poético.
 
Esta labor a que nos referimos se aprecia en una serie de poemas que ofrecen variaciones a referencias legislativas como en “Real Decreto 624/2014” o a discursos políticos como en “Investidura MMXI” donde se alude al discurso de investidura del presidente de Gobierno actual en España. Hay en ellos un contraste de la estructura opaca, propia de ese tipo de discursos políticos, con esa magia poética que nace de los nuevos sentidos que ofrece el texto distorsionado. Ecos surrealistas de una voz que se distancia de la realidad para denunciarla mejor mediante la deformación de los significantes, el realismo de ese lenguaje político resulta tan grisáceo que en su temerario engaño no es capaz de ofrecer ni siquiera un vocabulario seductor. Esta poesía seduce y divierte, pero a su vez contiene el poso amargo de la verdad ineludible, de la corrupción, del paro, de los recortes, de las mentiras que duelen:
 
“Habrá pañoles, todos punibles, todos fungibles, todos cocodrilos,/ dignos de esputo, todos capaces de trincar en la estafeta común.”
 
Los recursos del lenguaje poético son mucho más bellos y entretenidos que ese lenguaje de los burócratas, pero desvelan también una verdad más cruda. El esperpento se hace necesario para poder afrontar el tratamiento de cuestiones que tanto nos afectan: apela a la función lúdica de la literatura a la vez que despierta el pensamiento crítico, señalándonos la realidad que tenemos que afrontar cada día.
 
“Esta es mi puesta, Luñorías./ Es una oferta de bergamota porque se sustenta en la micción/ de que contamos con miedos, meigas y vergas para salir adelante.”
 
En En el oído del viento también hay ráfagas de un registro más íntimo con poemas que apuntan a preocupaciones esenciales como el paso del tiempo, la naturaleza o el amor con ecos de César Vallejo y referencias a otras tradiciones culturales. Y también a la utilidad de la poesía, al lugar del poeta en este mundo, si es que tiene cabida más allá de infinitos interrogantes: “¿Todos los poetas no pueden…/ obtener un doctorado en sinestesia/ por la universidad de Columbia en Nueva York? /¿Trabajar de catedráticos de ciencias púnicas/ trabajar de maestras jardineras,/ trabajar?” “¿No pueden desdoblarse transmutarse / no pueden extrañarse balbucearse / y enmudecer al fin?”
 
En el contexto actual no podemos permitirnos el lujo de que este tipo de obras pasen de puntillas por las estanterías, estamos ante una apuesta innovadora y vitalista que tiende puentes y abre caminos en el marco de la poesía contemporánea. A pesar de tantas necesarias cuestiones, esta poesía no enmudecerá.
 
Cerrando el libro, a modo de epílogo, encontramos un magnífico diálogo que no podría ser más necesario: “Por su bien y por el mío, ciudadano paciente, lo engranaré en la maquinaria de la rutina social. Afortunado usted: de haberlo atendido otro (hay dos escuelas, la dura y la inflexible), dada su mórbida atracción por Sogas y Vigas ya estaría colgando. Podría hacer otro chiste fácil con los empalmes del ahorcamiento pero no lo haré. Alégrese, hombre, tiene usted permiso. ¡Pero hable, calle, alégrese!”
 
Por su bien y por el mío, ciudadano paciente, le recomiendo que se acerque a la poesía que Amparo Arróspide nos ofrece en esta obra.
 
José Antonio Pamies
 
En el oído del viento is only sold at http://www.latiendadebailedelsol.org/ Amparo Arróspide En el Oído del Viento.html

 
 
jose pamies
 
 

José Antonio Pamies (Alicante, 1981) Finalista del III Premio internacional de poesía 
Andrés Salom 2005 y del II Premio de la editorial poesia Eres Tu 2010 con Las Ruinas 
de la Aurora. Ha publicado Campos de hielo (Babilonia, Pliegos de la palabra nº 3, 2012) 
y Afonías (finalista del XXVI Premio Gerardo Diego de Poesía), así como poemas en revistas 
y numerosas antologías. Reside en Madrid, donde realiza estudia Teoría de la Literatura y 
Literatura Comparada.
 
 

José Antonio Pamies (Alicante, 1981) His early poetry collection Las Ruinas de la Aurora was a runner up at the III Andres Salom International Poetry Award in 2005 and the II poesia Eres Tu Publisher Award in 2010. He has published Campos de hielo (Babilonia, Pliegos de la palabra nº 3) and Afonías a runner up at the XXVI Gerardo Diego Poetry Award. He currently lives in Madrid, pursuing studies in Theory of Literature and Comparative Literature.

 
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Key of Mist. Guadalupe Grande.Translated.Amparo Arróspide.Robin Ouzman Hislop
 
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Miriam C Jacobs Reviews All the Babble of the Souk.

Poet Robin Ouzman Hislop’s first full-length collection, All the Babble of the Souk, is appropriately titled. With a remarkably consistent ear for the market’s noise, for “[t]he broken lights of the bazaar/spangled] with glistening promise/in the eyes of the dusky beggar …” (Laminations in Lacquer ) Hislop’s poems, many of them cinematic-style montages of sounds and images, show us the metaphoric souk of the world, on the beach or in the street, its glitter, its sadness, its ragtag glory:
 
“pets, flower pots framed captive in a moment
outside the house of the painter, a robot
in chains with an alms bowl” (“Departures”)
 
These impressions are not confined to the scenic. Individuals, too, flash like rich arcades:
 
“there is not time enough to love
before the tram whisks her away
a creature of the costume of the moment
in a parade of parts.” (“In the fish-eye window”)
 
So marked is Hislop’s interest in the external world, readers may long for a glimpse of the speaker. It comes rarely. There are one or two musings on the phenomenon and surprise of feeling oneself age, the odd disjointing of it, but otherwise these poems proclaim their perhaps unique impersonality. In “Laminations in Lacquer” we sight what is, perhaps, the poet, but in third person, one who rises, observes, and then folds in at last with the “throng”:
 
“Below the rift of its eye
the sealed beak that will open
gleams on the lee …
in a room that roams without corners
he must rise with a chalice of blood for lips of shades
where the vertigo edge of the flower distills the dish
together with the quantities of immeasurable throng
on watery groves billowing with ivy bowers
sprung over hidden lairs of concealed hoards.
Night begins and the dogs draw nigh
scavenging for scraps
yapping at the walker’s naked ankles
in the dust of unknown alleys.”
 
Among other reoccurring themes – shadows, mirrors, the moon – is Hislop’s interest in physics. In a variety of contexts he reflects on time and infinity, the imagination-daunting galaxies, quantum theory and space:
 
“Man cannot live on myth alone
he shall earn his soil somehow, between
the Big Bang, the Big Slam ….”
 
One admirable quality in this work is that souk places us firmly in the precariousness of the current moment in history. These poems are exactly right for the age, and who we are now, those of us born 1945-1960, with our particular view of past and present, our grasp of the sciences and technologies that have overtaken the known world in our lifetimes.
 
“The world is a patchwork quilt,” Hislop concludes in “Lucky hat day,”
‘stitched up to the hilt its seams/which we quarter in our dreams
on which our edifice is built …”

 
 
Jacobs recent head
 
 
MIRIAM C. JACOBS is a alumnus of the University of Chicago and teaches college writing, literature and humanities. Jacobs is the editor of Eyedrum Periodically, the art/literature journal of Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, Atlanta. Her poetry has appeared in Jewish Literary Journal, The East Coast Literary Review, Record Magazine, The Camel Saloon, Bluestem: the Art and Literary Journal of Eastern Illinois University, The King’s English, and Oklahoma Today, among other publications. Her chapbook of poetry, The Naked Prince, was published by Fort!/Da? Books in September 2013.
 
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Richard Vallance Reviews All the Babble of the Souk. Collected Poems. Robin Ouzman Hislop.

Review of All the Babble of the Souk by Richard Vallance
 
If “All the Babble of the Souk” is anything but memorable — as it surely is — it is so because of its sweeping portrayal of the tumultuous market that is humankind. The “babble” of this bazaar is that of all the markets in the world — irrespective of nation, language, culture or race or for that matter, at the symbolic level, of any manifestation of our nature, be it “good” or “evil”, which are not opposing psychological or spiritual states as all too many naïvely imagine, but rather their subtle blending in our psyche. There is no suggestion of the presence or absence of God or a “god”. It is irrelevant. There is just humanity.
 
The poems, mostly quasi free form, some of them highly reminiscent of haiku, range from very short to a few pages long. Except for one poem and one only, Scale Free, in which we come face to face with some of the most beautiful imagery in the entire collection, and I quote:
 
A cuckoo taunts
high in the mountain
where are you?

 
there is not a single question to be found in the rest of the book. All the rest of the poems consist only of statements, some of them brief, others rather too long for my taste and some even downright convoluted. When this approach to poetry composition is carried to its extreme, it can and sometimes does result in the overly prosaic. That is the only real quarrel I have with this collection. Fortunately, there are only only a handful of poems which are painfully prone to the prosaic. Among these are Mannequins, the whole series Maps 1,2,3,4, The Prisoners, Non Linear and in particular Rust (which reads more like a scientific tract than a poem), none of which have any real appeal to me.
 
The rest of the poems run from agreeable at the very least to the truly amazing. Among those poems agreeable to the mind and/or the ear I count: Passage, At the Party, Here Comes the Moon, Multiverse, The Pine at the Summit and Wind upon a River. Others like these will more or less please the reader. But as everyone knows, we all have our own preferences for the kinds of poetry we like. The poems which appeal more to one person appeal less to another. The aforementioned choices are merely my own.
 
Next come poems which display remarkable talent, such as: After Dylan on the Ninth Wave (which I for one particularly like), Africa North (haiku-like), A Witch for Halloween (in which we find some of the most striking chthonic imagery in the book), Core (commendable for its brevity, economy of verse & imagery), Entanglements (haiku-like), Sequence 1 & 2 (haiku-like) and Story of a Rose.
 
I have a marked preference for the poet’s haiku-like poems. Haiku have always strongly appealed to me. In fact, I myself, along with Robin Ouzman Hislop and so many other truly talented haijin, have composed a considerable number of poems of this nature, many of which were published in the print quarterly, Canadian Zen Haiku (2004-2010), which is now out of print. Brevity is the soul of wit, and indeed of the memorable. It is Robin Ouzman Hislop’ s more compact poems which please me the most. There are exceptions, poems which are not haiku-like or are somewhat lengthier. There are some truly memorable lines in these poems. For instance, we have:
 
from Africa North:
A winnowing canvass tosses corn
and
... as fireflies in the blazing day.
and finally
In the gloaming a solitary reaper reaps its shadow.
(Reminiscences of Wordsworth’ s, The Solitary Reaper, one of the most astonishingly beautiful poems in English.)
 
from After Dylan on the Ninth Wave, there are a considerable number of memorable lines, which you can explore for yourself. The poem is not quite up to Dylan Thomas… a very tough act to follow!
 
and from Core:
reaching my eye’s peninsula

sudden scene, solitary strand
 
All of the poems in this class pleased me a great deal.
 
Now we come to the downright brilliant poems, of which there are naturally only a few. I might as well cite them all. They are Scale Free ( a series of haiku-like lines & almost pure haiku), A Split Second Later’s Late, Laminations in Lacquer, Lucky Hat Day and Red Butterflies, all of which had a powerful psychological and spiritual impact on me. Here are just a few of the lines from these truly remarkable poems which really struck me, and I mean really —
 
from A Split Second Later’s Late:
… a serpent’s spit according to legend.
 
from Laminations in Lacquer, the gripping lines:
Fireworks like a diaphanous lithograph
print an emblazoned sky
on the craggy mountains of the night
where comets play at kites
& glistening the eerie beak hisses.

 
and from Red Butterflies, where we find some of the most highly inspired, truly imaginative lines:
but as a collage on shifting sands…

A sword brazed in a fire
that does not distinguish
between the battle
& the field.

 
I believe we can safely say that the poet has achieved a level of poetic style and content which can hardly disappoint. Some of the poems in in “All the Babble of the Souk” remind me of T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland”. Perhaps the most striking feature of this volume is the poet’s portrayal of humanity, which deprives us of any escape from the darker, more insidious depths of our human condition. The most striking imagery in the entire collection forces itself on the least flattering trait of of our nature, our tendency towards — I might as well say it flat out — bestiality, which leaps to the fore in the poet’s all too frequent comparison between homo sapiens and apes (King Simian, seeking simian), gorillas, baboons and other fierce beasts of that ilk, all the way to neanderthals, Australopithecus and the odious nocturnal lupine, the proverbial werewolf. Lines such as: the hairless ape, go ape, going bananas… all mercilessly zero in on our ape-like nature bedeviling our s0-called civilized veneer.
 
There is also frequent reference to eating meat, and being eaten (we grow the meat we eat, those she didn’t eat alive, children simply to feed her, how they like human flesh, to be consumed by hell), all the way through to witchcraft and Zombie imagery. The dreadful presence of these creatures of the night inexorably lurks just beneath the thin veneer our blasé urbanity.
 
To cut to the quick, the most memorable qualities of Robin Ouzman Hislop’s poetic gifts are his penchant for economy of lines and the puissant imagery of the chthonic. Where these features dominate any poem, they impel it towards the nonpareil! Such poems soar. When it works, it works supremely well. As for the rest, there is much to please the reader.
 
Overall rating: 3.75/ 5
 
Richard Vallance

 
 
Richard Vallance
 
 
Richard Vallance, meta-linguist, ancient Greek & Mycenaean Linear B, home page: Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae, https://linearbknossosmycenae.wordpress.com
 
PINTEREST Boards: Mycenaean Linear B: Progressive Grammar & Vocabulary,
 
https://www.pinterest.com/vallance22/mycenaean-linear-b-progressive-grammar-and-vocabulary and, Knossos & Mycenae, sister civilizations, https://www.pinterest.com/vallance22/knossos-mycenae-sister-civilizations
 
Also poetry publisher, The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes: Anthology of sonnets of the early third millennium Le Phénix renaissant de ses cendres : Anthologie de sonnets au début du troisième millénaire Friesen Press, Victoria, B.C., Canada. © August 2013. 35 illustrations in B & W. Author & Title Indexes. 257 pp. 315 sonnets & ghazals in English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese & Persian.
 
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http://www.aquillrelle.com/authorrobin.htm
http://www.amazon.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
www.lulu.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
https://www.amazon.com/author/robinouzmanhislop
http://www.innerchildpress.com/robin-ouzman-hislop.All the Babble of the Souk