SHINY PENCILS AT THE EDGE OF THINGS by Dick Gallup

SHINY PENCILS AT THE EDGE OF THINGS

New and Selected Poetry
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The publication of this collection was supported in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other foundations, but Gallup is not among those poets “turned into pigs by Capitalism.” In his previous volume, Plumbing the Depth of Folly, the author apparently did not plumb enough and, thanks to the public’s largesse, he has returned to root even deeper. It is possible he may even have come out on the other side. How else is one to explain such lines as, “The love of morning is nothing but love, ravelled-sleeve love, jew love, prick love!”? Or, the poet asks, “How many pens are there in a horse? Standing, I believe.” (Answer: One too many, namely, the one his keepers let him have.) But wait, there’s more. We’re only on the second page. It does get better, though, once you’ve closed the book. Meanwhile, the reader is expected to endure page after page of aleatoric gobbledegook, phrases piled up like debris, words chosen for any reason but their ability to hang together and make a modicum of sense to anyone but the poet and those going along with the gag. Gallup has given rise to a new style of writing called stream of unconsciousness. It is doubtful even he has any idea what he’s doing, but he keeps doing it. In “christmas poem,” he announces, “Today I call you Lady Santa / From your firm green breasts / Spring Christmas Tree nipples! Lady Santa!”

Infuriatingly dull in every sense of the word.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-56689-106-X
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Coffee House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2001