Hemp Poetic

This poetry zine has a fibrous, roughly cut cover made of hemp and post-consumer waste. Inside, the pages are also rough to the touch and flecked with grain that, the author explains, is not meant as a creative gesture, but rather “for the good of the environment.” The only connection between the two might be the eco-conscience of the author, with his references to health food stores and his visions of technology being washed away in an apocalypse. The early pieces are strong, particularly the poem “Zero Gravity Stacks” about a library in space where you can peruse a mystery book while spinning in the air as slow as rotisserie lamb on a spit. This flow is interrupted by a rather lame comic about a girl breaking up with her boyfriend because he lives in a tree house. After this, the zine takes a self-serious turn into more overwrought and overwritten poetry. Lines like “Invention is drawn from the source of being” and “I had to discover the Banyan Tree myself, it wasn’t taught” smack of New Age writing that projects some deep revelation the writing itself doesn’t inspire.
In a poem about admiring a stock girl from afar, the author jumps between the food she might be stocking to pop culture references (“forward like Spike Lee soliloquy/or Veronica traced from a comic”) left me puzzled over the girl’s actual image and why the poem’s vague wistfulness had so completely obscured her.
The remaining poems jump around between rhyming structure from free verse to a sing-songy, but less fun Dennis Lee: “We don’t have long/The force is strong.” The voice feels most natural in the quirky parts where the writer reminisces about sci-fi shows he watched as a child or dreams about Plastic Man. Here the sentences drop that overwritten style that so often down his images and ideas, and instead sets a more self-assured stride. (Laura Trethewey)

Poetry Zine, Timothy Charles Anderson, 40 High Park Ave., Apt 1102, Toronto ON, M6P 2S1, timcanderson@gmail.com

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