zygote in my coffee

16 Aug

Zygote in my Coffee #5
Print Compilation
Summer 2008
Tainted Coffee Press
104 pgs, Trade Paper

How do you judge poetry? Can you judge poetry? And, perhaps most important, should you judge poetry?

I don’t know.

But I will try

In Zygote in my Coffee #5 you get the great, the good and the average. There is no bad, and I don’t say that lightly. Sure the subjective mind might say, this poem sucks my ass, but is that a base reaction or an academic one? Does it matter?

It is difficult to review poetry because the reader brings a different agenda to the piece that the writer may have intended. And I will tell you that any poet that tries to lead me to a conclusion is not a poet.

In this edition of the ZIMC Compilation #5 this does not happen and that is a good thing.
So back to where we began; the great, the good and the average and this edition is about 35 % great, 59 % good and then, well…you do the math.

The appearance of the strong is strong as always with Tainted Coffee Press. Love the cover work, love the layout and especially love the order of the poetry. Conscious or otherwise, the work pulls you through and if anything lags, the next piece picks you back up. Another plus is the exposure to poets you may have not heard of before. As a whole this is a volume to own primarily because of the variety of style and voices within. A different reviewer will have a different opinion I am sure as to which pieces stand out, but I will share mine.

Bradley Mason Hamlin is unfamiliar to me but has a stellar poem in “Scotch, Red Wine, Dark Beer.” Immediate and intimate.

Hung over
ever so slightly
and listening to the boss
my mind slips backward
into her
and the way
we fucked
on the beach
the day after the scotch
the red wine
the dark beer

In “Then and Now” Ellaraine Lockie writes with sophistication and charm. It is an honest piece filled with warning and reflection.

…where fuck is an extended handshake
in a sea of social gatherings

Great line.

Also of note is Spencer Troxell. Both poems, “Lord, Lord” and “Buy Boat Shoes” ring entirely true and honest. Look for anything by this poet and you will not be disappointed.

RC Edrington has a fantastic poem in “Lines Between the Fix.” I would quote it at length but the opening stanza will do:

today’s writers
no talent hacks
who fantasize
they’re the next
Bukowski, Ginsberg,
or Walt Whitman
when in reality
they are nothing
but common house flies
that suck
the sugary sinews
off a dead corpse

It’s not as if this piece slams writers entirely, but it is a dynamic start to a fine piece. Some people don’t like poems that reflect on other writers, but I find them interesting and important.

Another find, for me, is Ross Vassilev, who is the featured poet of this edition. Each poem is a mini epic of brutal honesty and vivid imagery. Vassilev is a skilled poet in that he shows you an image, but it is layered and multi-faceted. Truly a poet that puts out a piece that readers must interpret for themselves. On the surface, simple and pure, but deeper, they reveal a darker notion, a more intimate revelation of self and situation.

Other poems of note are by SA Griffin, Aleathia Drehmer, John Dorsey, Misti Rainwater-Lites, Cheryl Townsend, Wayne Mason and Bambi Baker.

As a whole this is a dynamic read. Filled with different themes, voices and styles, you will not be disappointed with the content. As I mentioned there are great, there are good, and there are the rest. What you like and what I like are most certainly different things, but this is not a volume to pass up.

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