cover image Ennui Prophet

Ennui Prophet

Christopher Kennedy, BOA Editions, Ltd. (Consortium, dist.), $16 trade paper (70p) ISBN 978-1-934414-49-1

Hip and inviting, Kennedy's short prose poems rarely fail to entertain: "I'll buy you a reason to live if you promise to share," one says, while another visits the "Museum of Wrong Turns," finding "something for everyone: cowboy boots worn by former presidents," for example. The language of slightly retro rock and roll ("The next release shall contain no electric guitars") takes over some pages that feel like very short stories, while others run in the sinuous American-surrealist grooves set by, say, Russell Edson: "the bees formed two lines and flew into my ears, where they crowded my head like thoughts of a long drought." Kennedy (Nietzsche's Horse) runs the graduate program in creative writing at Syracuse: this third book of prose poems (his fourth book overall) shows his clear mastery of several prose-poem forms, with lyricism, jokiness ("Amish Radio"), non sequiturs, sadness, and even a bit of cultural criticism to boot. It might be hard to say, in a world choked with prose poems and short-short stories, what sets this particular company apart. And yet that demurral is no knock on the individual poems, such as the one about the "Dream Horse" with the "smaller horse, galloping" inside it. (June)