cover image Death & Disaster Series

Death & Disaster Series

Lonely Christopher. Monk Books (SPD, dist.), $18.50 trade paper (188p) ISBN 978-0-9913221-0-7

The death of a mother and the flailing affections of a young gay man are put in the context of a suffocating contemporary moment in this debut collection. Readers familiar with Lonely Christopher’s fiction debut, The Mechanics of Homosexual Intercourse, will find the poetry in line with his prose style and preoccupations. Conceits and word games that attempt pyrotechnics drive some poems forward, and the collection wears on its sleeve the influence of a wide range of queer contemporaries and styles. This means, inevitably, that some lines get away from themselves, in the style of “[d]ie, devices and disorder/ disclosure, adamant infantile/ wear a default english/ tush avarice, butt sometimes/ when a man has reached his age.” But it also means that the poet pulls off some lines, harried into furor, with grace. In a lovely, complicated series addressing a mother’s death, an attuned sense of pacing and grammar brings lines like “Susan pray for yourself/ pray you undo this button/ it’s not in here” to deep emotional clarity. The tumbling of emotions and indulgence of vocabulary work against some of the poems, making their provocations feel a bit forced, but a dance this impassioned is inevitably prone to some missteps. (Mar.)