by Ralph Haselmann, Jr. 140 pages. 2001. ISBN: 0738863327
Book Review by Michael Basinski
Ralph Haselmann Jr. is MainMan! He is one of the busiest people in poetry. Editor of Lucidmoonpoetry , he is also a relentless reviewer, obviously, therefore, a relentless reader, and a prolific poet. Scattershot Haze is Haselmann Jr.’s second book of poetry. As his subtitle suggests it is a tribute to the Beats. The Beats and company, Ginsberg, Kerouac, Corso, Burroughs, Charles the Buk, Curt Cobain, Bob Dylan etc. and New Beats: Dave and Ana Christy (she who writes the Foreword of this book) provide the well of energy Ralph taps. I was much pleasantly surprised by the amount of poetic technical skill and classic Beat craft that Ralph Haselmann Jr. wields. There are many that would like to claim The Beats as source; however, few come close. Haselmann hits the mark. His ear is tuned to the music, so much so one wonders where the originals leave off and where this poetry begins. There is no bridge, in fact. It is one flowing river. When Ralph Haselmann Jr. stepped into this, he became one with the poetry. A marvelous achievement. And let’s add to that: fully entertaining. Within there are tributes to musicians, poets, Leonardo Dicaprio, and what I would define as ear collages or Ginsberg and Haselmann duets. And also tribute poems to Charles Bukowski. Now, make no mistake, yes it is a tribute and Ralph Haselmann is breathing full the music and rhythms of the Beat. Still, it is a clear and unique and independent poetry. It is, truly, Haselmann’s poetry. It is his poetry. He has something to say.