Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Book Review: VS. by David E. Oprava

I was asked to review this by the author after he’d seen my review of Nigel McLoughlin's ‘Dissonances’ I said I was happy to have a look at it and he sent over a .pdf. I’m rather glad he did.

VS (erbacce-press publications) is a brave and accomplished collection of poetry that I would have hesitated to write. From the long, multi-form ‘Segue’ (which looks forward to the death of the writer) to the eleven joined pieces that make up ‘Bobby Quatrain: Rock God Poet’ Oprave takes us twisting (and often screaming, for I must admit that I would hesitate to use such profanity in and of my own poetry) down the urban streets of modern after—school boredom. I see his subjects lying in pools of piss and blood and spattered Welsh phrases as the die, observed only by Oprava and his readers and ignored by the virtual populations of the body of poems.

It is Oprava’s short-form pieces that grab you by the metaphorical balls, though – In the literary ‘Spot: On the Slaughterhouse floor’ Lady Macbeth scrubs away blood while conversing with visions from Kafka and Chaucer.

This excerpt from Gerontophobia:

Worsted for wear
in sheep’s clothing,
poly-gripped fangs bared
when the mood holds him,
the other children say
of the man upstairs
but I don’t cry before wolves,
I wonder why

the old women said
he’d lined a heart
with bricks
from every woman
he’s met
in wars and pieces
found along
the uneven sway
in moth eaten socks,

fills me with the wish that I’d written it and the desire to add the character to my next novel. A nod to the wolf in us all.

Although Oprava drops prose-poems like rabbit pellets through the text (chew twice – you’ll be grateful), he concludes the book with four in a row: ‘Twelve,’ ‘War Widow,’ ‘Cindy’ and ‘Love: is a partially loaded gun.’ These appear as snap-shots of his life; interspersed with memories and anecdotes. Does anyone really fuck to Rossini any more? I remember doing it, and the image of Bo Derek in my head would inevitably turn into Dudley Moore and put me off. Thank all the Gods for batteries, I say.

If you like avant-garde poetry, you’ll love this. Since he sent me a pdf copy for review, I’m even going to have to get a copy for myself – it’s earned a place on my overburdened bookshelves.

Buy it HERE

Not available on Amazon, alas


aims said...

Oh Rachel. Only you would write such a wonderful comment.

I love the words 'I wish I had written them' and 'thank God for batteries'.

Sounds like a good read to me.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Thanks Aims.

Mr. Oprava was pleased with the review too, thankfully.

stephanie said...

Fabulous review, Rachel. As all good reviews well written should, it makes me want to purchase the book.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Thanks Stephanie. He's certainly a better poet than I.