Ben Doller, Author . Ahsahta $17.50 (96p) ISBN 978-1-934103-05-0

This second collection by Doller (né Doyle) takes as its inspiration the notion of the “Frequently Asked Question.” The cynical, or perhaps practical, presumption that underlies this book is that most people are likely to ask the same questions, to which there are simple, easily digested answers. In 53 poems mostly in prose and all but two titled “FAQ,” Doller (Radio, Radio ) mocks this oversimplifying method of heading off real inquiry. He begins each poem “Thank you for your question,” which is always followed by terse, typically hostile disjunctive sentences that range from small and disorienting (“Thank you for your question: through the scope I see the infrared brick,” reads one poem in its entirety) to the rambling and discursive: “Inside my vacuum powdered milk. Inside hundreds of hornets. Another way to say it is I cannot empathize with the poor, though that's exactly what I am.” Each poem asks the reader to imagine the question that could have yielded such a text, as if from the answer we could derive the idiosyncrasies of the person who needed to hear it. Certainly a compelling avenue toward self-knowledge, though the book gives away its formula early on, leaving the reader longing for a surprise that doesn't quite come. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 03/16/2009
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Fiction
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