by Daniel Bouchard. Slack Buddha Press. 50 Garrison Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144
Book Review by Michael Basinski
Slack Buddha Press is a new press. And Daniel Bouchard’s book is the first book from this new press. And Slack Buddha is publishing the work of contemporary practitioners of writing, what includes: poetry, prose performance texts and verbo-visual work. Slack Buddha is, as fact, William R. Howe and Lisa A. Phillips. Each book is $5.00 and you can subscribe: 6 chapbooks is $20.00 and 10 is $32.00. Why not? And for sure, for sure, for sure as shit you will get in each installment a book of words used as art! Not academic fart. Bouchard’s is the first, but here on the pile rests also Alan Halsey’s In Addition and Stephen T. Vessels’s Zip Code Poems. Each of these three is distinctly different, unique but each of these poets has a focused purpose that is really, when boiled down and rooted and fluffed and painted… each has to do with literary consistency, vision and language manipulation and each book is an exploration in literary art….so that’s The Slack Buddha project: real art by serious artists from many walks of poetry. Halsey’s contribution to The Slack Buddha are poems titled by master poets, e.g., Samuel Butler, George Herbert, etc. and, using old form, old words are variously playful and satirical poking at these masters and having fun with poetry! Damn the seriousness! And amazing this book increases the possible by returning to the past for material. Armed with a spiked rubber hose of pen and a wide laughing smile Halsey punishes the dull. The Vessels’s book is composed of short poems defined by the first one in the collection, which acts as model for those that follow and which reads:
if delivery by hand becomes obsolete may this form become a testament 93117 Mailed to H. & S. April 2000
The post office becomes a revolutionary hideout! The act of writing poems, we all know is a revolutionary act. And mailing is now also the activity of the revolution only. I hear what Vessel has to say ’ I use the post office even if most of the employees are strange and don’t wash much. Maybe one of them is Charles Bukowski the Second or Thomas Pynchon the Three.
She Kept Birds by Geraldine Monk is a book of a series of little machines of music, key wound music boxwoooords of birds, i.e., small poems with plenty of erotic vowel music listing birds harvested form/from one of those gigantic field guides and proves to me everywhere is birds and little sounds becoming poetry of nature. Keith Tuma’s Topical Ointment puns around with sarcastic and cutting pleasure of rhythm and rhyme and infling with a wide net capturing the best of sound again and agains as this mighty poem maker he writes,
Better take enlightenment and squeeze it Osama rhymes with 'Yo Mama.'>
But the review here was supposed to be about Sound Swarms & Other Poems by Daniel Bouchard and in that context: With his ear Bouchard reinvents a poetry that focuses on the natural world and her events like birds. A delight of terrific word bird music and Bouchard gets as real close to the naturalness of language fun and it becomes second nature. So ’ what nature is it? Nature as in the Nature of poetry or the Nature of outside the bar? What it art in facet is a measure of both that makes this wow unique vow. This is one to have cause Bouchard will be around longer than time.