Friday, January 7, 2011

The Flappy Parts (review)

Ok, so this year, I might try to unclutter things a bit by keeping  general housekeeping blogs separate from review blogs from more specific writing blogs. So while I've already got an abundance of things planned/happening in 2011, there's time to flap my mouth-hole about that stuff later.

Right now is all about reviews. And specifically, a review of a particular book. The first book I read this year, Kevin L. Donihe's "The Flappy Parts." I've also read Douglas Adam's "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe", so hopefully I'll have a review for that book up soon too. I think I've set 2011 up to be a year for excessive reading. And probably excessive writing too.

So anyway, on to the flappy parts.

Over the past year or so, I've grown quite keen on poetry as an art form. However, something that's been holding me back from reading more poetry is that the really good stuff is usually quite sparse. Of course, it comes down to personal taste, so I suppose I should clarify where I stand on that matter.

I like stuff that's weird, smart, different, thought provoking, challenging, original. Basically, if you do something different with your poetry, I'll probably like it. And for the record, I like this book. As far as poetry goes, my personal tastes don't stretch too far. I've read a couple of verse novels by Dorothy Porter, and the characterised poems in Haunted, by Chuck Palahniuk are my sort of thing. Efficient word usage, nice and punchy, yet uses the form of the poem to their advantage.

The Flappy Parts isn't all poetry. Almost everything is under a page long, but some pieces are more prose poems or flash fiction. It's a bit of a fine-line distinction, but I consider myself a fan of the flash fiction genre, and while it can work on similar principles to poetry, it is an entirely different form.

So in this book, we have a collection of poems and flash fiction totalling a bit over 110 pages. It's a small book, but it's got a lot of material here. I think I recall reading somewhere that this book is Donihe's collections of poetry over the past decade. Now, in terms of structure, I think Donihe's got a firm grasp of the poetic form, and he's adopted some interesting poetic techniques to add some depth to his work. No doubt I'll go back and read this again, to pick up on things I didn't get the first time around, and to try to figure out more of what the poetry means, if anything at all.

As with the bizarro genre, Donihe's poetry is awkward and weird and at times disturbing, and at times just completely jarring. The material in this book. It's been a few days since I read the book and there's not too much that's still fresh in my mind. I suppose I can blame my erratic reading habits for this, as I've finished reading one book and read about half of another book since then, so I feel like I haven't properly digested this work. Call that lazy reviewing if you like, I'm gonna call it a medium close up shot review. I get a good impression of what the book is about. Most of the poetry is good. Some of the poetry is really good. I can't remember reading anything I outright hated, but to be a human being, there are some poems that aren't as good as others. Medium close up shot. I can't tell you exactly which poems were my favourite because I didn't look that close (like the extreme close up shot where you can count the eyelashes) and I can't really give you a thorough detailing of the impression of the whole book because I haven't stepped back to see how the poems compliment eachother (landscape shot, where you can see the surroundings, the composition of the shot).

So, yeah, it'd probably do the book justice for me to read it again, and at some point, I am positive I will, but for now, there's just this (which I believe is still quite a passable review). I loved Donihe's novel, Washer Mouth, but his poetry has proved to me that he's not just your average weird author. He's a wordsmith. A flash fiction freak. A poet. And he knows how to get you thinking. I feel this book would be best read by those with a keen eye for poetry, and consumed and savoured on a poem-by-poem basis. There's a lot of great material here, it feels like somewhat of a shame to reduce all this poetry into one short volume. I read it in a single afternoon, and I think this book has so much more to offer than that.

P.S: Don't lick the page.

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