Oct 30, 2009

More of Me Disappears by John Amen

John Amen's More of Me Disappears is broken down into three separate sections and each poem in each section is accessible, vivid, and explosive.  In a number of poems, Amen's musical and song writing talents permeate the lines.  However, these are more than rhythmic dances, his work gradually moves toward a vanishing point. 
From Verboten (Page 17)

"They are drinking wine and speaking
of French-U.S. relations when the long
sleeve on her arm falls down.  Before
she can clutch it, I see the faded blue
tattoo on her flesh.  "What are those
numbers?" I ask.  A silence explodes
through the room like spores."
Each poem in this collection tells a story, reflects on a bright memory, and picks these events apart to reveal the truth beneath.  There are times in this volume when the narrator is sure of his path and at other times ideas run contrary to one another.  Some of my favorite lines will leave readers squirming or gritting their teeth.
From Walking Unsure of Myself (Page 65)

"The fortune teller is battling a migraine.
Wind has swallowed my itinerary.

A man in blue goggles is on his knees outside the bank.
The rape victim is scrubbing herself with a steel brush."
Readers will enjoy the music of these poems and how these poems pop off the pages, with an in your face quality.  Subtlety is not a prevalent style in Amen's work, but readers will appreciate his frankness.  From poems where the narrator takes an active role to poems to observances from a distance, Amen draws the reader in with immediate and concrete details.  One of the best collections I've read in 2009.
New York Memory #3 (Page 36)

"When I get to my dead father's apartment,
Liz emerges from ruptured planks and exploded plaster.
She is covered with soot, like some pagan baptized
in refuse.  The wrecking crew has come before
we had a chance to vacate the place, stripped the loft
to its skeleton.  My father's furniture has been destroyed,
a lifetime buried beneath an avalanche of wood and iron.
Beds have been gutted, paintings raped by protruding nails.
A fast-food cup rises from the ruin like a conqueror's flag.
The apartment is quickly remodeled, rent raised;
the revolving door of humanity spins.  Over the years,
I make a point of knowing who is living there.  I see tenants
come and go.  I accept that we're not so unlike animals.
I mean, I have this friend who tells me all about bees,
how the queen is revered and protected, ultimately
replaced in a savage deposition, how the mad
hive continues, greater than any one member.
And everything he says sounds familiar, and stings."
I want to thank John Amen for sending me a free copy of his book More of Me Disappears for review.   For additional examples from this book, visit John Amen's Web site.

Also, clicking on images and text links to books will bring you to my Amazon Affiliate page.  No purchases are required.

This is my 6th book for the poetry review challenge.


Anna said...

This sounds right up my alley! As for poetry I've read lately...well, I liked some of the poems you read aloud during the Read-a-Thon, and before that I flipped through my well-worn collection of Dickinson poems.

Adding this to my sidebar...

Diary of an Eccentric

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

Interesting. Thanks for this review. I have had only one review of a poetry collection and I blogged it. I also read and write Haiku. My last poetry reading was a collection of haiku by Matsuo Basho.


Serena said...

Anna: I'm glad you think this volume is for you. I can't wait to read the other book of Amen's that I have.

Nana: I just subscribed to both of your blogs and can't wait to read more from your reviews. I hope you are entering this giveaway. Its a great chance to read more poetry.

Kristen said...

There are some surprising and apropos images in the poems you've excerpted. Very cool.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, darling. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

avalonne83 said...

Sounds really nice...
Please enter me in the contest. Thanks.
By the way, recently I've (re)read Shakespeare's Sonnets.

avalonne83 [at] yahoo [dot] it

Milka said...

I have enjoyed Lord Byron, Keats and Shakespeare, we have discussed those in school.


Silent Raven said...

Poetry... Recently I've been reading Poe and Shakespeare... again. Everytime I read it, I find something I didn't notice before and I love that.


Aik said...

I enjoy reading Chinese poems. Almost all the end words rhyme, in a meaningful way.

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Aik said...

I blogged.


aikychien at yahoo dot com

Aik said...

I tweeted.


aikychien at yahoo dot com

gautami tripathy said...

John was kind enough to send me At The Threshold of Alchemy. I am savouring that slowly. I would like to read this too.

Do count me in!


Mystica said...

I'm just venturing into poetry and I think I would love to have this.

Strangelove said...

I've been re-reading Leaves of Grass and loving every word!


Wanda said...

"alone in Japan" appears in I thought Elvis was italian by Domenico Capilongo and was my favourite in his debut collection.
You can read the title poem here.


Wanda said...

Sorry I didn't catch this giveaway earlier but I now have this in my Up For Grabs post.

Edu Chico said...

I've been reading two polish poets:
Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska.
They are amazing!
educhico AT gmail DOT com

Jafantunes said...

I always have some Pablo Neruda on my bedside table.

jafantunes [at] sapo [dot] pt

Cavalier said...

Fernando Pessoa.
He is a portuguese genius!

o_rei_de_havana AT hotmail DOT com

MariaD said...

It was a gift, a compilation of works by Rainer Maria Rilke.
And it is amazing!


Caty said...

Only recently did I discover that was mainly a poet and not a fiction author as I knew him to be.
So i bought The Cinnamon Peeler, which is a selection of his works and I am loving every word!


Susy said...

I am fascinated by the Haikus of Kobayashi Issa.
My email is 39.5susy AT gmail.com

Mil said...

I am only an occasional reader of poetry, but Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal really surprised me!

Mil said...

Oh, and my email:

J Dias said...

joanapatriciadias AT gmail DOT com

I have been reading several Persian poems, all dedicated to love, and I am thrilled with them!

Tanita said...

I was most surprised by "Twenty Poems of Anna Akhmatova".
I did not know of her work, but she is truly a genius!

tanitalves {@} sapo {.} pt

DG said...

I really enjoyed a recent discovery of some more current Billy Collin poems!


DG said...

I really enjoyed a recent discovery of some more current Billy Collin poems!


DG said...