Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jane Crown's Her Delicate Shoe by David McLean (Book Review)

Jane Crown's Her Delicate Shoe
Reviewed by David McLean

This excellent new chapbook by Jane Crown, editor of Heavy Bear magazine and host and proprietor of Jane Crown's Internet radio show, is a real tour de force in verbal pyrotechnics and demonstrates that Janey has a quiet and assured voice capable of engaging the reader in order to drag her into the Crown world and display a poetical sensibility that is one of the most promising in the early years of what will probably be a pretty fucked up millennium, if it lasts that long.

These are poems made

… only of promises
and rosewater, wishes for happiness
and a granting of living lips
(from Delicacy)

They discuss love, aging, sensuality, the Tao, the southern states of the USA, and nostalgia and yearning. They often attain heights of lyricism that never lose their sure footing in humor and self-awareness, even a self-conscious reflexive touch that makes the poems sometimes meta-poems with their and the writer's selves as subject matter:

believe or not, it is the poem that brings movement
across salted floors
(from Movement)

One of the best is introduced by a Lao Tzu quote and goes on to

Chopping wood seems very hard now, impossibly mind breaking
it gives no pause for diligence, it simply moves heavy

To split something in halves possible, spendthrift
'Tis a broader thought to use self as a whole

A grand endeavor, no doubt, thinking and still
I keep my eye to yours and this aged quiet

It keeps me on the path
lest I forget there is one, minus machine and hand

This I can embrace without even axe or arm
(from The Uncarved Block)

The poems offer an exceedingly unique and individual take on life and teach us, as poems should, to step back on and reflect on what it is to be. Not what it is to be a human or a woman or an American, but what it is to be there in the world in general, even if we happen to be all of these subsidiary things.

Finally, some excellent advice:

Travel leads to disembarking, so
keep your valuables with you
and never watch over your left shoulder
(from The Birds)

Do buy this book, I can guarantee you some breathlessly exciting and beautiful poetry. And copies are available from Jane herself at Jane Crown.

Author bio:

David McLean is Welsh but has lived in Sweden since 1987. He lives there on an island in the Stockholm archipelago with a woman, five selfish cats and a stupid dog. He has a BA in History from Oxford, and an unconnected MA in philosophy, much later, from Stockholm. Details of his available books, chapbooks, and over 850 poems in or forthcoming at 370 places online or in print over the last couple of years, are at his blog at Mourning Abortion. He never submits by snail mail since he has little money and since he loves, or at least doesn't have anything against, trees. Among things forthcoming is a chapbook called nobody wants to go to heaven but everybody wants to die from Poptritus Press in summer 2009 sometime. Early 2010 an anthology called laughing at funerals will be appearing with Epic Rites Publications, there's also a 50 poem chapbook from Epic Rites called hellbound which is on sale now. For Epic Rites he edits the chapbook series and the e-zines lines written w/ a razor and the thin edge of staring, as well as selecting work for the radio network.

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