by Kemp D. Gregory. 2003 150 pages. $14.95, iUniverse, Inc. 2021 Pine Lake Road, Suite 100, Lincoln, NE 68512. www.iuniverse.com
Book Review by Michael Basinski
The Catholic in catholic Kin is a small c. Welcome to the poetic world of Kemp Gregory. Not often that I read the word God in so many poems these days. God as in the God upstairs, but this God is here in these poems. But not that all powerful nasty moral son-of a… gun God. The God that you talk to when you get a flat tire in a snow storm. Oh God! So I think maybe it is this friendly, buddy to pal, conversation with God that allows Kemp Gregory’s poems to be so talking free and the easy cadences bounce from stanza to stanza over a wide horizon of incidents, emotions and circumstances. I imagine William Carlos Williams poem mind operating much the same at Kemp Gregory’s. The poems popping up all the time and the damned necessity to write them down. Now don’t think that this work is anything like a religious sermon and none of that moralizing crap or the pain of sin or anything like that. Nope. The poems are filled with delight in life and family and are sometimes silly and ironic and sarcastic and just plain funny. Humor here in fact abounds. Now, 150 pages of poetry has gotta have some humor in them or else ’ I mean ’ why read so many poems. Here are some titles: A Bit Groggy, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Returns from the Grave to Complete His last Fucking Timesheet; Clark Kent in the Parking lot of the Pilgrim Laundry; and Feeding My Poem to a Yankee Copier. See! These poems have that easy flowing I am in the midst of my humdrum life observations with stuff happening to me while stuck in traffic poems of the men and women of this weird America we are in. They are then real people poems, small press works that rattle along to keep us sane in the office, on the job, in the laundry mat and on deep into the walk around day. And Kemp- I also read Turok, Son of Stone comic books! You become his friend in these poems. And let me quote:
As you steadily continue to age, it becomes more tempting to feel sure you've stepped in every pile of shit there is.