Magazine article World Literature Today

Don't Try

Magazine article World Literature Today

Don't Try

Article excerpt

Nathan Brown & Jon Dee Graham. Don't Try. Norman, Oklahoma. Mezcalita Press. 2016. 96 pages.

Contemporary poetry can be formulaic: the vague flow of emotion Mary Kinzie calls the "Rhapsodic Fallacy," the neoconfessional anecdote Donald Hall refers to, succinctly, as the "McPoem." Instead of a formula, Don't Try gives us a chemical reaction resulting from the mixture of countercultural legend Charles Bukowski, former Oklahoma poet laureate Nathan Brown, and gravelly voiced singer-songwriter Jon Dee Graham.

Each poem in this book takes its title from a line in a Bukowski poem, which Brown and Graham use to launch their own poems, sometimes trading back and forth within the same poem and sometimes each writing parallel poems inspired by the same line. A careful reading of the prefatory material seems to suggest that, of the two typefaces used in the collection, Brown is represented by a Times New Roman style and Graham by something like Courier. The reader will enjoy watching the interplay of these three voices.

Bukowski clearly sets the tone of the book. For instance, the first poem in the collection takes its title from some very Bukowski math-"Zero Times Zero Times Zero"-and then offers conjecture on what that equals. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.