January 4, 2008

Dale Jensen, Purgatorial (Malthus, 2004). 48 pages. $9.

I picked this up at the Lakeview branch of the Oakland Public Library. I'm not quite sure what Jack Foley means when he says in his blurb that "Jensen's poems are able to tell us things about ourselves we would never have suspected," but there are some good moments in the book: my favorite being the end poem "Remember the Maine" (48). I also liked these lines from "This Vision":
on some level a structure i've learned
in thirty years of writing poetry
it isn't easy giving you this half lie
all you do is open your head and use your skill
and people think you're honest (p. 2, ll. 8-12)
The read, however, is encumbered by flat office verse:
your computer cord ducks
and your phone
makes choking sounds ("Your Cubicle's Lunch," p.6)
I think this is a self-published venture (Jensen edited a magazine called Malthus). The magic page count of 48 makes it technically a full-length, although I wish he would have done some tough editing and boiled this down to a more solid chap.



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