cover image FATHER SAID: Poems


Hal Sirowitz, . . Soft Skull, $23 (200pp) ISBN 978-1-932360-27-1

Mother Said, an earlier book of oedipal ventriloquism from Queens's mournful deadpan bard, was translated into nine languages. This follow-up collection continues to alchemize neurotic parental utterances into blank verse ditties of angsty epiphany. Sirowitz's "father" is full of lament. He compares the young Hal to ants ("I've never seen them being idle. I/ wish I could say the same thing about you"), and his daughter and wife similarly frustrate, yet he remains philosophical: "getting my share of the unhappiness" is "the price you pay for being human." Indeed, "The only/ good thing about dying is that I/ won't be around if something goes wrong./ You'll have to take care of it." Taken best in small doses, these dispatches of familial frustration remind us why one of Sirowitz's previous books is My Therapist Said . It helps to imagine Sirowitz (if you've ever heard him) reading these with nasal laconicism, so an audio version would be welcome. (Sept.)