Sherwood Forest

Camille Roy. Futurepoem (SPD, dist.), $16 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-0-9822798-5-4
“All night I spent on my knees,” begins one of Roy’s poems, “munching the feminine... Love-soaked sweetheart/ slutty girl, leaving shiny paths.” The lines typify this memorable book, first in their sexual shock, and then in the deftly delayed shock of omission, of how much she doesn’t say; typically, too, the poem joins up with fairy tale traditions—it’s entitled “Princess & Salt (A Ballad),” and it encompasses carefully abstract thought about human motives: “Lucy thinks guilt must belong somewhere... But I think/ bodies are stubborn/ Piling on top of one another simply for warmth.” Almost all the free verse, prose poems, and verbal sketches in Roy’s collection present what some readers would call a queer radical life, one with “themes:/ soft flesh to twist my nails in” as well as companions on her voyage, in verse that stands out from other “experimental” work for its fine ear, and for its condensation. Same-sex erotic life, both wonderful and troubled, guides Roy through an urban bohemia. Part of a Bay Area avant-garde for decades, the versatile Roy (Cold Heaven, Swarm, etc.) may be best known as an avant-garde playwright, but these are adventurous, spiky, commanding, certainly vivid, and compact poems. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
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