author of Mr. Bluebird
Winner of the Gival Press Poetry Award. This rich whirl of the dervish traverses a grand expanse from bars to crazy dreams to fruition of desire.
author of Mr. Bluebird
author of A Flame for the Touch That Matters
author of novels Carlyle Simpson and Hawkwings, and the prose poem chapbook Survival
author of Flint Shards from Sussex, Winner of the Gival Press Poetry Contest-1999 ---Jeff
- Gival Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.15(d)
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The prevalent themes in this ambitious first book by Chicago, Illinois native Wozek are travel and identity. For some, traveling means leaping to the unknown where we're somehow freer to embrace whatever or whomever all in the name of revelation. The result of this treatment of travel is poetry written not in the spirit of expression, but in the spirit of discovery. With lines like 'until I shimmer like polished ivory,/ stir and thrash like a new god' and 'your eyes give back/ my whole desire' we see the speaker's internal struggle in virtually every poem. As truth unravels for the speaker, it's revealing itself to the readers as well. It is this feeling of collectivism that makes reading and re-reading Dervish a cardinal experience. The logistical progression of these poems, though, is difficult to comment on. The readers wander through Italy and France, to India and Germany, to the USA and then back to France, then to Algeria, Poland, Italy and Mexico. On one hand, the sundry locations are jarring and scattered, but on the other hand they speak to that sense of dervish - how the soul simultaneously exists in many geographies, yet no one particular place. Thus, this structure is one of restlessness. Through this capricious physical setting, the poet twirls the readers. We whirl and whirl, unable to discern ground from sky. Wozek's consistently descriptive language, where precision is the primary concern, involves the readers. Textured diction such as 'until they suffocated in their long manly moans' and 'we swallow silk' shows Wozek's ability to accurately depict a moment. Not only this, but his poems evoke great writers such as Diane Ackerman ('I sing praises to my destroyer') and Jane Hirshfield (seen in his stellar use of directives in poems Spell for Changing Bodies and Ritual for Letting Go). However, at times the uses of language both push and pull the reader. Private and referential lines such as 'not a jolt/ from a melange at the Hawelka' have a distancing effect. Yet, at the same time, Wozek's words (for example: 'and let the damp gardenia air swell our lungs') convey a certain intimacy, like inviting a known voyeur into one's home. What's most remarkable about this collection is its adoration: love of language, man, travel, and love of self. So, for all who are unafraid to journey from the self and to the self by way of sex and beauty, then close the blinds, smash the television, pour a glass of Merlot, pull up a sofa, and indulge in Dervish. Fear not, for this won't be the last of Gerard Wozek. The book's final sentiment rightfully forecasts Wozek's position on our national poetry scene: 'I persist.'