FREE by Amanda Laughtland
(Teeny Tiny chapbook, Edmonds, WA, March 2007)
Occasionally, when I’m feeling (or being) pompous, I throw out a poetics statement (usually inflicting them on the hapless readers of my blathering personal blog). Statements like this one, which I like so much I’ve tossed it at the e-world more than once:
“You don’t need to fictionalize poems. Poetry is all around us; the poet just needs to be observant enough to see.”
And so I was pleased and gratified to read Amanda Laughtland’s “Teeny Tiny chapbook”, FREE. Because it made me more forgiving of my pompous tendencies. According to the Author’s Note, the poems in FREE “draw language and inspiration from ‘free stuff’ ads posted on craigslist’.” All of the poems’ titles thus begin with the word “Free.” Here’s an excerpt from “Free Pool Table”:
First person who shows up
for the pool table gets it. It does
have scratches in the wood
which should sand out easily.
Felt is like new. Balls and cues
not included. Don’t ask me—
I was charmed by the way "balls and cues" suddenly transcend their original context.
Then there's this poem in its entirety that would have made me grin even if it hadn’t been illustrated by a girl winking at the reader:
I have a queen-sized mattress,
foam insides, with matching box spring.
The fabric has rips you won’t notice
under a sheet. It’s not new or anything
but it’s clean, it’s a bed and it’s free.
There are six poems in total -- yes, just six since it is a tiny publication (a piece of 8 ½” X 11” paper folded and sliced into 8 pages including covers. But it’s a well-designed publication and conceptualized to ensure form matches content, which is to say, the publication is FREE!
E-mail the author/indie publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org for your copy of this purr-fectly pitched gem. Go on: E!
Eileen Tabios doesn't allow her books to be reviewed by Galatea Resurrects -- but she is ecstatic to point you to recent reviews of her recent book The Light Sang As It Left Your Eyes (Marsh Hawk Press, 2007) by Nicholas Manning, by Jesse Glass, and by Burt Kimmelman. Oh, and a review by Laurel Johnson reprinted by Amazon.com though it's good to support SPD! Preening is as good as wine for good health!