Tweaky Village

Kevin Killian. Wonder (SPD, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (108p) ISBN 978-0-9895985-2-1
This mix of lyric poems, dialogues, epistolary pieces, and prose from poet and novelist Killian (Spreadeagle) would probably feel scatterbrained if it weren't so entertaining; instead, it works as a carnival of layered and thoughtful experimentation with image and colloquial language. For instance, in "Skull with Jewels on It," Killian sets a scene: "Kylie comes down to the stage riding an elevated skull, huge skull confronting the audience with its own death, a skull glittering with thousands of light bulbs." Informed by music—both musical luminaries, like Leonard Cohen and David Bowie, and the musical implication of language—Killian is not only honest about his influences, but honors those who have affected him, from the found language of the cityscape ideas to the reaches of ancient myth to the tabloids of pop culture: "Heath seemed like a wild name, Dionysian,/ the boy of the moors, all mad fire,// while ‘Ledger' was Apollonian, like St. Peter/ counting up your sins." This is the tradition established with the Beats and The New York School brought to contemporary fruition, as refreshing to read as it is deeply affecting. Killian writes of striving, "To become obscure/ among human beings,// but clearer/ in all relations," and yet with this work he will succeed only in the latter. (May)
Reviewed on: 09/01/2014
Release date: 05/01/2014
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