Wednesday, March 30, 2011



ISHMAEL AMONG THE BUSHES by William Allegrezza
(Dusie, Switzerland, 2006)

Every so often I ask myself, "Did I fail this poet as a reader?"

I ask this when I don't understand the poets' logical resolutions or feel their visceral resolutions that they intended. In this case, I am the scape goat, I am the reader failing, and I am the one left scratching his head.

When a poet mentions that (s)he is an experimental poet, as William Allegrezza implies on his website (, I wish they described themselves as an attempted ee cummings instead. I often believe they are attempting the same blend of logical and visceral resolutions that ee cummings is known for...

We can use Allegrezza's "voices in green" as an example:
"'I never wanted to shoot a man,
but he asked for it.'"

He then negotiates through various descriptions, but could have redirected the poem to tell about the time he drove Miss Daisy from the Sears Tower in Chicago to the Space Needle in Seattle, just barely avoiding the Canadian Border as they scraped through Montana. And then ended with his original ending:
"His voice was so

To get an idea of his approach, here is the entirety of his poem:
voices in green

"I never wanted to shoot a man,
but he asked for it."

            below an eyelid
            mounds    form    and    sand
            spreads out of microscopic'

            "I've marked a grave
            with excrement."

            "What else could I do?"

            hairs on end as
            limbs break sirens
            scream through open mouths

trail                         head

            his face was so

But why did Allegrezza choose his descriptions over my hypothetical? Why do his poems go from lineated narratives without attempting visceral resolutions to delineated narratives with many possible visceral resolutions? Why do some of his lineated narratives also beg the visceral to come and play?

Let us explain visceral resolutions as opposed to the logical. The logical resolution is a narrative that takes you from point a to point b. It is closely related to exposition as it gets. The visceral, however, takes the reader into the heart of things. They are not understood, but felt. To use ee cummings as an example, and to parallel the experimental poems: but if a look should april me. There is no clear logic here, but the human body hears the hum of it -- it feels the underlying implications. Allegrezza does the same by ending his poem "his face was so/caring".


Jerry Brunoe was raised on the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon. He left to attend Oregon State University and did, ever-so briefly yet sporadically. He hides his Native American accent wherever he goes. His poems have appeared in Contrary and To Topos: Poetry International.

1 comment:

EILEEN said...

Another view is offered by Fionna Donney Simmonds in GR #6 at