Microreview: Aaron Belz, Lovely, Raspberry
November 1, 2010
Nov 1, 2010
1 Min read time
Poems that embrace narrative, brevity, down-to-earth diction, and slapstick.
Persea Books, $15 (paper)
Aaron Belz’s enjoyable second collection flaunts its unfashionable accessibility. Belz embraces narrative, brevity, down-to-earth diction, and slapstick. His approach resembles the New York School’s lighter side, where Ashbery’s use of Popeye in a poem evokes pop art and O’Hara’s conversational tone disarms the reader to open him up for heavier material that follows. The book’s longest poem, the seven-pager entitled “a box of it,” juxtaposes a nearly obsolete toy with a current one: “wait on the glider, / Mr. Potato Head, / and learn how to operate / your digital camera.” The past and present struggle to handle each other. In a later section of the poem, the unfixed addressee is the rapper Bubba Sparxxx, “whose jaundice / never shows because his / retelling speaxxx distractedly / of the women at Key Biscayne.” The typographical joke issues its own challenge to the persona adopted by a white musician from the rural South, and Belz doesn’t let up: “watch the glinting / forxxx descend / like the apple cheeked storxxx.” There is no gesture here that is not pervasive, whether it’s self-effacement, dissatisfaction, or failure to achieve common ground with others—even when that other is Al Gore waiting with him for a bus, or his next-door neighbor, Charles Reznikoff. But in “the love-hat relationship,” Belz offers a solution to the nearly constant alienation: “See if you can find something interesting about / the personality of the person whose hat you like.”
While we have you...
...we need your help. Confronting the many challenges of COVID-19—from the medical to the economic, the social to the political—demands all the moral and deliberative clarity we can muster. In Thinking in a Pandemic, we’ve organized the latest arguments from doctors and epidemiologists, philosophers and economists, legal scholars and historians, activists and citizens, as they think not just through this moment but beyond it. While much remains uncertain, Boston Review’s responsibility to public reason is sure. That’s why you’ll never see a paywall or ads. It also means that we rely on you, our readers, for support. If you like what you read here, pledge your contribution to keep it free for everyone by making a tax-deductible donation.
November 01, 2010
1 Min read time