Thursday, December 18, 2008

AJ Kaufman's Pilgrims and Indians by David McLean (Book Review)

AJ Kaufmann's Pilgrims and Indians
Review by David McLean

Poems began as lyrics, as words to songs, as chants originally. They were what people sung about the campfire. This book presents itself as a book of lyrics, the upcoming Polish poet AJ Kaufmann used to sing in a band and his earliest texts were lyrics, so the form suits him. Generally speaking song lyrics don't suit as reading because they are naturally repetitive. But these are excellently done, well worth collecting in a book

When I dreamt electric and slept on the rooftops
where were you?
When I caught a moth and I tried to make contact
where were you?
When I got in conflict with night's sweaty bosom
where were you?
When nights were of chalk and the moon of no reason
where were you?

Generally speaking this is a book by somebody who, not engaging in an anachronistic pretense of reliving the beat generation's often pretty laughable mistakes is instead taking the vital in that spirit and rekindling it in this present world to the tones of rock 'n roll, not dead and dead boring jazz or jizz, or whatever they used to call the shit.

The book is not just a curio, lyrics in a modern style by a poet, but worth encountering as a text in its own right.

Dark is the Garden
In which we were born
Dark is the Garden
And we must go on...

As I say, well worth buying. Do so at Deadbeat Press.

Author bio:

David McLean is Welsh but has lived in Sweden since 1987. He lives there in a cottage on a hill with a woman, five selfish cats, and a stupid puppy. Details of his three available full length books, various chapbooks, and over 700 poems in or forthcoming at more than 300 places online or in print over the last couple of years, are at his blog at htpp:// He has recently been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, whatever that is. He would very much like you to buy his books so he can drink more. A new chapbook "of dead snakes" is due at Rain over Bouville in Feb 2009, and one from Poptritus Press in the summer.

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