Big Men Speaking to Little Men

Philip Fried, Author Salmon Publishing $22.95 (102p) ISBN 978-1-903392-55-3
""Do I not bleed? Do I not commute?"" asks Fried, who goes on to say, "" many selves travel."" His layered third collection superimposes the imaginary on the actual, the sacred on the profane, and the comic on the tragic in 54 shapely poems that follow these traveling selves. From India to the Jersey Shore, from an airport's imagined saint-""Our Lady of Every Destination""-to Victor Hugo playing hopscotch, Fried, who is the founding editor of The Manhattan Review, attempts to transform ""the world's infantile, satisfied babble"" into something legible. A bit of fool's gold becomes a way to consider ""the false / facet of self that would sell""; an old drive-in theater's speaker stands become ""graves in the heart's Arlington."" There is no parsing the real from the surreal in these poems, as when people talking on mobile phones while looking at Rodin's sculptures suddenly speak across space and time with the dead, and a statue's penis is mistaken for a handset. Fried (The Quantum Genesis, 1997) has to inhabit these other selves in order to find what he's looking for: ""an elsewhere interwoven / with here and everlastingly now.""
Reviewed on: 07/31/2006
Release date: 08/01/2006
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