cover image The Burning Door

The Burning Door

Tony Leuzzi. Tiger Bark (SPD, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-0-9860445-2-6

At times frank and tender, at others intensely visceral ("A starving man eats/ maggots, dies."), Leuzzi (Radiant Losses) exhibits a "delicate ferocity" through an array of acrobatic verbal stunts. Leuzzi draws from his experience as a visual artist, employing with poetic delight a hodgepodge of various forms without sacrificing emotional vulnerability. His knowledge of assemblage art becomes readily apparent when he moves from lyric to prose poems and, finally, a long sequential piece at the book's conclusion. Leuzzi also considers a great breadth of topics, highlighting verbal aptitude when talking about the intersecting points of religion, childhood, and homosexual love within the collection's narrative thread. "In some worlds leaving means return," he declares early on, giving a sense of exploring new territory (and the possibility of a return); but as the book continues, there's an incipient sense that in this particular world there is no return but only a continuous exploration. "A port is a portal," and the poet reminds us that home is "Huckleberry's raft/ seeking asylum somewhere along/ the not-/ just-any-old-river." Leuzzi's disparate elements come together in an immaterial haze: "that moment when// you// are caught in a dream/ and part of you knows you're dreaming." (Apr.)