Tuesday, January 19, 2010

HUGH FOX Reviews UNION PRINTER from Marymark Press

Union Printer.
By T. Kilgore Splake and Mark Sonnenfeld.
2009;17pp; Marymark Press, 45-08 Old Millstone Drive,
East Windsor, NJ 08520. No price given.

During my first reading of Union Printer I kept thinking of the first part of Wim Wenders’ film Wings of Desire, two angels wandering around Berlin listening to people’s thoughts. What seems like total mind-flow structure/structurelessness. Then during my second and third readings I began to slowly realize that Sonnenfeld is stream of consciousness, and Splake exactly the opposite. Here’s Sonnenfeld’s “I will wait for you there,” for example: “Weird/lying on the floor./Lurch/Lunch Bell No Is Lost/in the Edison Industrial Park./Then the trick is sliding/the heavy doors/Standing by/Someone’s/wall.” (p.10). Something you really have to construct a plot around. Is he lying resting on the floor in this industrial park, then lunch is over, he has to leave and ends up (still homeless) out next to a wall somewhere? Totally stream-of-consciousness. Much more plotted (and much more crossword-puzzleish) is the work of T. Kilgore Splake: “pumpkin tides/catfish friends/garlic meat ladies/absaroka summit/ troll hut/vida/ianthe/”tfa” short/good talking candles/watermelon sugar/IDEATH/trout colored streams.” (“ ‘bro’ brautigan obit,” p.4). What it essentially is is an obit of writer Richard Brautigan. Absaroka is a mountain range in Brautigan territory, Ianthe is the name of his daughter. IDEATH is a quote from Brautigan’s autobiography Watermelon Sugar....and so it goes. So, although on the surface, the two poets seem very similar, the truth is that although Sonnenfeld is “free-flowing,” Splake is Mr. Puzzle-It-Out.

Reviewer: Hugh Fox

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