Rock/The Boat: Book One
by Kenneth Warren. Oasis Press, C/o Stephen Ellis, 23 Mitton Street, Portland, ME 04102
Book Review by Michael Basinski
Each of these poems has the title of a well-known pop song, Duke of Earl, Jailhouse Rock, Long Tall Sally, Nowhere Man, Sad Eye Lady of the Lowlands, etc. This merging of poetry and pop alone makes this an amazing text. And then it is a beautiful retelling of each song (in a form) and the incidents of each are a weaving of that song in your head with the imagination of the poet. The music, the pop tune plays on creating a multi-level poem because the song has triggered a memory that plays along with the poet’s poem. Pulling together the lyrics, the times, the lines memory and music, a stunningly unique piece of poetry, readable, understandable, fresh, new, and strumingly deep appears as a tune drifting in the memory and in the poetry of this moment. So simple a thing Warren knows we all measure out lives via pop-music. With this simple device he is able to bridge the troubled waters between the lives of the poetic of the all day long and the art of imaginative, exploratory poetry of intense and personal and intellectual self.
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