Death of a Ventriloquist

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc. Univ. of North Texas, $12.95 trade paper (72p) ISBN 978-1-57441-447-9
Subtle and finespun as the strings that move a marionette, Fay-LeBlanc’s lines in this debut lure, guide, and yank us through poems in which “a redstart in the boneset and spotted knapweed” and “eel grass winding your ankles” are always waiting to dance upon the tongue. Whether he’s overhearing a conversation in a tavern or the music stuck in his head, Fay-LeBlanc uses his ventriloquist to raise important questions about how we perform ourselves through language, creating a voice that locates its source in a “Prayer of Glass” because it must hide its true source from us. Fay-Leblanc’s best work draws our eyes away from him, as in “Notes on Colic,” where, in a dream, we suddenly see “The foreman of the pity factory,/ where they produce the tiniest/ violins known to man //...that guy, /who can’t stop itching his welts //...does a little jig /to make you feel better.” The tension that permeates his poetry—what is seen and unseen, said and eavesdropped, true and trickery—culminates in a debut that rings out long after Fay-LeBlanc’s lips stop moving. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
Ebook - 96 pages - 978-1-57441-455-4
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