Thursday, July 2, 2009

David McLean's pushing lemmings by Constance Stadler (Book Review)

David McLean's pushing lemmings
Reviewed by Constance Stadler

The title of David McLean’s new book, pushing lemmings, would either seem to be effort wasted or on the cusp of cruelty. But the latter is where McLean’s poetic soul resides; on the barbarity inflicted by daily life, which naturally leads to an equally unremitting examination of its counterpart. McLean rages but with a singular, penetrative, deeply affected full out stare of ritual, nocturnal, and diurnal horrors. One can see this easily in a poem like summer sun:

summer sun children swim in the sea
they imagine they are happy
they imagine this is life

night in me sings a swimming winter shark to them
rises and strikes

What is so clear is that this is an insightful affected man who is lashing out at the certain abduction of innocence.

Often called a “gritty poet of the macabre”, McLean shows most eloquent sensitivities, philosophic knowledge as well as an array of rare poetic gifts. The lyrical, insightful question posed in culture shows all of this:

we are our antiphysis all of us,
like something out of Huysmans
with our being a denial of what
we are not -the animal - is passing
worth noting, the nothing
we are?

Or as in maybe, creation:

but the questions of why have no home
in science, which is poncy ontology
not manly metaphysics that rips gibberish like hair waxed from time’s
private tits

Any simplistic categorization of McLean’s work reveals a lack of immersion and engagement which is required by the reader, but the rewards are great. McLean in all of his passions has a biting wit, as in details about heaven

they often give details about heaven
without admitting to guessing, pretending
that it sounds rather nice, which it doesn’t
unless you actually like a boring life

Yes, this is a poet who has stared Life and Death in the face and all of its aspects. He questions, and challenges and howls, for anyone who has the courage to hear. In my blessed devils he tells us much, particularly why any sentient lover of poetry and, thus, one imbued in the questions that haunt us all ~ many to silence ~ must read this work of rarefied art. They will be changed.

I hope the blessed devils
And accursed bacteria
That live in me scratch ruins
On my hollow sounding bones
That the replete ghouls may read
A lesson of profoundest negativity
When they plow through the meat
Machine me and see nothing
Onside any of us, just death
And insanity dressed in night.

Author bio:

Constance Stadler has been writing, publishing, and editing poetry from the 'prehistoric' epoch of print journals to modern e-times. She was a former editor of South and West and is currently a contributing editor to the e-zine Eviscerator Heaven. She has published over 250 poems and three chapbooks in her 'first manifestation' as a poet, and is currently in final stage prep of her first chap in 20 years, Tinted Steam (Shadow Archer Press), and will have a second, "Sublunary Curse" (Erbacce), released in 2009. Her most recent work appears in such 'zines as ditch, Parasitic, ken*again, Pen Himalaya, Rain Over Bouville, Clockwise Cat, Hanging Moss, Neonbeam, and Gloom Cupboard. She has been selected as a featured poet for the Guild of Outside Writers.

No comments: