Wednesday, July 30, 2008

John Dorsey's Learning to Swim Through a River of Shit by Jack Henry (Book Review)

John Dorsey's Learning to Swim through a River of Shit
(Tainted Coffee Press)
Review by Jack Henry

Today I received a poetry book in the US mail.

Yup a poetry book.

Typically I don't buy poetry books. I will trade w/friends, steal them, or, if forced, I will get a few for school. Generally, the ones for school suck. Hard. And those, I have to read.

But recently, I received a bulletin or an email or an invite or something that took me to the Zygote in my Coffee website. Ah, I remember, I was vainly looking to see if they posted my poem.

I noted the second flip book called (on one side) Learning to Swim Through a River of Shit by John Dorsey and (on the other side) the Art of Being a Quitter, by Lisa LaTourette.

As I know John and have heard him read both in person and on Blog Talk Radio, I ripped through his 15 poems in about the same time he takes to read them. In other words, quick and furious. The benefit of having heard John read allows his voice to creep into my skull when I read them. While I cannot do that voice justice, it works well enough.

John Dorsey is talented. It goes w/out saying, both in presentation and in writing. He works his unique style in a slightly manic way. I can picture him ripping the pen across the page, or, perhaps, tearing at the keys in the middle of the night.

While brief, his work is very poignant.

In bullets over broadway and bombs over columbine John opens w/an amazing stanza:

i thumb through the
paper like most average
americans just trying not
to get blood on
my hands as children
huddle up in some
colorado park waiting to
be let back into

The piece builds from their crescendoing w/:

remember to keep your
head down the teachers
say in their best
underpaid voices of concern
american children whisper back
hiroshima monamour they are
the new anti-social samurai
waiting in the infancy
of suburban caves in
prayer for an end
to our consumer holocaust
to create an international
language they whisper
peace like it's going
out of

A lengthy quote, I realize, but telling of the power poetry can have.

Throughout the remainder of the book, John rips it up. It's phenomenal book and well worth it at $6 USD. The layout is strong and the cover art comendable. Tainted Coffee Press did an outstanding job.

Available now at Zygote in My Coffee.

Don't wait, go now...

Author bio:

Jack Henry is a poet/write/non-conformist huddled in the dark confines of Los Angeles. Recently, against all odds and reason, Jack Henry launched d/e/a/d/b/e/a/t press, specializing in poetry/prose/memoir. Previous publications include CP Journal, Cause and Effect, Off Beat Pulp among others.

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