by Douglas Manson. Slack Buddha Press, 50 Garrison Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144.
Book Review by Michael Basinski
OK ‘The Dew Neal’ get it? Like a reverse of the first letters so you get a New Deal ’ but for Mason it is a Dew Neal that is taking the daily words slobbered about and full of slips lips and skips and twists and turns generated with mist spellings and misspellings and using them to mold and meld a speaking voice in a complete playground that avoids the surface philosophy of lots of poetry that isn’t this playful tat all. So I read in Douglas Manson’s poetry a way of speaking a poetry that doesn’t rely or lie upon blunt old school gutter tweet. The poetry informs. Wow! He’s stating a view! And making words really be art by making them work in their common behavior of making song and reason. What happens after Williams Carlos Williams writes, at the end Paterson, ‘The last summersault’? Well then you have Doug Mason and the royal acrobats of word possibility without arrogancing. This is really, as in real, then a class-conscious work. And: Trick or Treat, money or eat, we know your home we smell your words. Words are just the things we poets work at ’ the making of them. This is another way of reading and the music of this sartsats (isn’t this a great word I just made up! sartsats! ’ means by Doug Manson’s book and reads it) and jerks like the wordworm at the end of the hoook! And he has in the midst of this a lone, alone line: ‘Meaning we are devastated.’ Meaning as we know meaning and meaning as I mean. And then meaning as we know something devastated. This is a good thing to remember that words are not dumb entities but living lizards to be tainted and trained to the page and in Manson’s poetry they still wag their tales, this way that, up and down, dog and cat.