by Todd Moore. St. Vitus Press. 2005. 38 pages.
Book Review by Michael Basinski
Those readers who have encountered and engaged Todd Moore’s poetry are familiar with his focused literary obsession with John Dillinger and how Dillinger has become, for Moore, an allegorical icon. With this book, The Dead Zone Trilogy, Todd Moore continues to explore and mine/mind this rich, legendary and complex American outlaw/gangster and symbol. In the three long poems within this book, Moore pushes beyond the candid sexuality and violence and outlaw behavior of Dillinger. Within the poems time itself is manipulated. Moore interferes with time. The poems, particularly the center poem in the collection, occurs, if that is the correct term, within the seconds when Dillinger realizes he has been trapped in the Chicago alley, betrayed by the lady in red and is being shot and is shot dead. It is of course frightening as the various thoughts flash in Dillinger’s mind as imagined by Moore. But it is more than an imagination that Moore has. He has merged with Dillinger and they are of one imagination. Moore is able to weave in poetry John Dillinger’s fleeting images. It is a collage of particular seconds, memories and bits of language. Moore, all along, throughout his career, has been a good citizen of the small press. He continues to be that. But beyond this allegiance he is innovative in his pursuit. He is not only imagining the thought of his poetic familiar and character but bringing into small press poetry techniques infrequently utilized namely time manipulation and collage. Small press poetry needs this form of infusion. Moore does it and still retains his allegiance to the genuine.