Saturday, January 22, 2011

Inheriting Craziness and Other Courtesies

Thomas Fucaloro read from his new book at Cornelia Street Cafe last evening. inheriting craziness is like a soft halo of light, published by Three Rooms Press, collects poems about family, love and the commercialization of modern life, and their persistent tone is comical self-deflation. The speaker in them almost always manages to be bathetic and pathetic at once. The main poetic strategy is one of juxtaposition, of different registers, images and situations.

Thomas is a very likable reader, and his poems make plain their desperation to please. This desperation is a source of the poems' strength, but it is also a cause of their weakness. They are made to give a big pay-off only at the end, but occasionally the ending does not deliver. The last poem he read last night "Tom and Jerry" delivered in his quite inimitable manner. What seemed to be a poem about sexual appetite wound up to be a poem about self-division. It is refreshing to approach existential angst through the silliness of old cartoons.

After I read my poem for the open-mic, the man who sat next to me thanked me. He said nothing else. He just said, "Thanks." It is the best thing anyone could say to me after hearing or reading my poems.

This morning, I reviewed the proofs of my new book of poems. The book felt nice and thick in my hand. The cover has turned out very well, though it would have looked even better matte instead of glossy. But Amazon Createspace has only the glossy option. The photo spreads at the head of each poetic sequence look much bolder than they did in the pdf files. I like the boldness. Delicacy and strength, restraint and force, these pairs of antitheses are very much on my mind.

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