Thursday, December 22, 2011



At That by Skip Fox
(Ahadada Books, Buffalo, N.Y., 2005)

More than a decade ago, as humans count the days, I (your steamed reviewer) received a manuscript from Skip Fox. My wife Beth Garrison and I were suddenly and surprisingly in charge of Potes & Poets Press at the time. My writin’ friend Stephen Ellis encouraged Skip Fox to send us something. We published that something, What If. The present book lingers in the same delight as that one. Officially, I believe it stands as follow up to the earlier triumph.

At That cascades in a specific flow that I think embraces a very now thing. Skip Can I Call You Skip writes in a journal fashion of oddlots expressed in poetry time. My fancyspeak wants to suggest an enviable relationship to the encumbrances of words all over the place.

What I mean, and I am sure you are happy to know I mean something, is that Fox works on reception. That’s the journal thing. To receive ideas, observations, visions, and what the heck. Poets transmute, they don’t make up.

At That consists of a bookful of sections. It looks like sections may reach one page in length, most are less. Pagination stops at 186.

Fox numbers the sections, which instills the feeling that the book follows chronology. You know, like a journal. Numbers are missing, which suggests that Fox wielded a blue pencil. Good for him.

The sort of active presence that Fox presents in this jumble excites me as poetry should. He delivers his reading, his rumination, his observation, and even his poetry. Lines of definition blur. I love it.

According to my research, poems are clunky, pretentious things 97% of the time. We don’t need more scholastic aptitude traps that simply recharge emphatic old signs of culture. We just need an eye meeting phenomena and allowing words to flow around the events. Fox has a method that propounds interest, rather than rational reflection. I like it.

Fox calls a toilet a “turd hog”, among “Definitions for the New Millennium”. That is some fleck from the other side. The book is full of them.

Quoting seems almost against the grain here. I could leaf thru and note high points. Those high points would be the unresisted, currently. They would and will change.

This book wants a Reader to lift it, open it, stop at a succession of words, and then colon (:), something more… You go on from here. That seems like poetry to me.


Allen Bramhall is the author of DAYS POEM (Meritage Press), among other things...

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