Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Brief Thoughts 26

Beatnik Fascism by Brandon Adamson

The title of Brandon Adamson's second poetry book, released in 2016, has several possible layers to it. The most obvious on is that it's a tongue-in-cheek reference to this being a collection of beatnik-inspired poetry with many of the poems being political and coming from a right-wing perspective. As Adamson points out in the introduction, it's also a reference to a Twilight Zone episode where a group of aliens working for a fascist galactic empire disguise themselves as beatnik bikers. One could also interpret it as a jab at many self-proclaimed non-conformists becoming overbearing assholes when they gain power.

Despite Adamson's own right-wing beliefs, he finds himself ill-at-ease with other people on the political right in several of these poems. He expresses a lot of disdain for corporations and capitalism in general. He also finds himself skeptical towards right-wing mass movements in general. This is something I think many across the political spectrum could relate with. My own views are far more to the left than those of Adamson's and I find myself unable to relate to any left-wing mass movements which currently exist.

One thing that will get a lot of people to reject this book is Adamson's obvious disdain for immigrants. The poems here which talk about the issue read as The Camp of the Saints-style paranoia to me. These are my least favorites in the book, partly because of my disagreement with him that immigrants are a profound threat, but mostly because I found them the most heavy-handed.

My favorite poems in the book are the non-political ones, such as one about the killing of Harambe. One would think it would be impossible to take it seriously after all the memes and jokes, but it's actually an insightful look into the relationship between man and nature. The poems about frustrated romance also have a lot of emotional verisimilitude to them, avoiding condemnation of women or men and engaging in self-criticism where it's needed.

I believe Adamson is a very talented poet between this and his newest book, Skytrain to Nowhere, though I would recommend the latter over this one. I think Skytrain... works far better as a whole.

Buy Beatnik Fascism by Brandon Adamson here.

Prague by Maria Morisot 

Maria Morisot, aka Moan Lisa, is a highly prolific poet and artist from Iowa who has put out multiple poetry books, collage pieces, and paintings. Prague, released in 2015, collects three chapbooks; My Hidden Muse, Blue Collar, and Committed.

My Hidden Muse largely consists of love poems. A recurring theme in them is love and desiring consuming one like a fire, fire being a recurring motif in these poems. Longing is both a beautiful and miserable experience here. Morisot makes use of some interesting wordplay as well.

Would you want to place
your head upon my wrist,
write. Relax and write;
let all others reinterpret all
our varicose dreams.

In Blue Collar, love poems still make up most of the it, but religion and religious imagery are more of a focus. There is also more use of surreal imagery, much of which is often apocalyptic. It does not, however, present such a thing as the end, but a new beginning.

To shake the foundation
of life's miscarriages;
to sow the seeds of false
beliefs into the bosom
of the walking dead. 

Committed is the most pessimistic and downbeat of the three. Most of the poems here are about loss, grief, and the end of relationship. Many of them also speak about an inability to move on from this fractured relationship, leaving one trapped in a limbo.

This timelessness,
between beatings of a 
newborn's heart;
where her mask
fades, and I
see everything.  

Prague is a solid collection of poems with some nice imagery and real, intense emotion behind them. A few of them slip into melodrama, but nothing that brings the book to a halt. This is a book well-worth your time if you enjoy poetry. I'll be picking up more of Morisot's work in the near future.

Buy Prague by Maria Morisot here.

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