Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lisa LaTourette's The Art of Being a Quitter by Jack Henry (Book Review)

The Art of Being a Quitter
by Lisa LaTourette

Review by Jack Henry

Lisa LaTourette is my kind of poet, and that pisses me off.

Whenever I read poetry, I pick it up, put it down, repeat, repeat, repeat. Yet, when I read Lisa LaTourette's The Art of Being a Quitter I couldn't put the fucking thing down.

And that pissed me off.

Her words are so vivid and full, explosive images contextualized on the page; she is crafty in her art. She writes w/a keen sense of awareness, of being there. The reality in her words does not come across as forced or contrived. A true poet.

My favorite poem, of many, has to be “turning 30.” Wait until she turns 40.

how can I be 30?
wasn't I just 21; 16 only last year
& not a thousand pictures ago,
pages in a photo album?

At forty something she reminded me how fast it goes by and made me remember, which I don't like to do. It's an effective write because it allows the reader to relate and draw conclusions of his or her own as well invokes a feeling the writer brings to the piece.

From “unemployment”

everyone goes to work and
the sun comes down, not too bad,
cars drive by with motivated people
at the wheel and I look at them as thought
they were an exhibit in a museum…

Another piece that could be related is “for Eva and her friend, that October Sunday.” This piece relates to a young boy and girl on what might be a first day, or, at a minimum, at the precipice of a grand life change. “…they were on the verge of something.”

Lisa's writing is tight and concise. There is no wasted movement or thought. Each poem is so well crafted that they carry the whole of the text in and of themselves. She writes in a language I like to read, in a style I refer to as walking around poetry. Like John Dorsey, her book mate on the flip of this text, her roads are very street level, a full life lived, for better or worse. Each poem catches a glimpse of live, an observation, but unlike what academics incorrectly refer to as observational poetry, this is lived poetry. Only honest, all meat, no fat.

From "monday's poem":

I lift my head from the pillow;
sick sad thoughts wash over the day
like special delivery, non-fiction
I open the window to let some of the day in
but here I can control how much.

I highly recommend this book, both for Lisa's side AND John's side. Their combined flipped chapbook is the second from Tainted Coffee Press. The book design, cover art and layout are very effective. Being a publisher I would love to know how they did this for $6 including shipping. (Someone tell me, please.)

If you want a book of poetry that is well worth it buy Tainted Coffee Press' second flipbook. You get The Art of Being a Quitter, from Lisa LaTourette AND John Dorsey's Learning to Swim through a River of Shit. For SIX BUCKS DELIVERED. Why are you still reading my drivel? Go now to www.zygoteinmycoffee.com and buy the thing. You won't regret it.

Author bio:

Jack Henry is editor of deadbeatpress.com.

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