Park Songs: A Poem/ Play

David Budbill, Author, R C Irwin, Photographer
David Budbill. Exterminating Angel (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-935259-16-9
Reviewed on: 10/22/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
Ebook - 113 pages - 978-1-935259-17-6
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The Vermont resident Budbill (Happy Life), a regular guest on NPR, is best known for clear, sweet poems, but he is also a playwright, and his new work is first and last, as he says, “raw material that could be a play”: an array of dialogues among the vagrants, pedestrians, passers-by, and hard-luck cases of an urban park, among them “Mr. C.” (who takes care of the park and may be a professor), “HAAL” (Hangs Around A Lot), and Jeanie (“27 years old,” she complains, “workin’ in a diner and I’m still livin’ at home... with Mom!”). In language that recalls the 1930s, the guys and the couple of ladies around the park debate how to be happy, how to get by with less, and how to make poems that feel true: “maybe if you didn’t feel so sorry for yourself all the time,” Haal explains, “you wouldn’t be so blue. Anyway, it’s gonna be different for me.” Blues numbers interrupt the scenes, which otherwise progress toward halting ideas about the reasons behind all poems: “I float on these common songs,” Mr. C. explains, “to a place I know as home,/ which sure as hell/ ain’t where you come from.” (Oct.)
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