Obscenely Yours

Angelo Nikolopoulos. Alice James (Consortium, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-1-882295-99-9
Nikolopoulos’s debut is careful, sexy, and very aptly titled. The flush of sex brims in every line, an arousal that oscillates between rosy “stem and bloom” and metallic images that conjure something rougher, harder, more masculine. His poem “Str8 Gym Buddies: Auditions” addresses the environment of “the alloyed bench press,// iron beam and barbell.” He confesses, “I love the language of cardiovascular desire,/ looking’s syntax in its steeliness,// tethered by limits, wrought form.” The body, its ecstasy and its shame, is this poet’s obsession, and he observes it with a straightforward awe. “www.daddyhunt.com” is candid: “on the subway ride home, it is not guilt/ that hangs overhead, not regret soiled// in the folds of the shirt, the torn buttonhole,” but rather a sense of wonder at how gay men found each other in a more conservative past, how it must have felt for them to finally bump into someone similar. Nikolopoulos’s poems tend to remain purely physical and not linger in reflection. Amid poems categorized as auditions or scenes, there are more airy, open pieces without titles that lean toward longing and loneliness. And yet, Nikolopoulos counters, “it’s a miracle to have been given a body at all.// Life is a celebration. By neon lights/ and cellulite. We are not dead.” (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/25/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
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