Monday, May 12, 2014

Poetry Monday: Michael Brennan

I've been reading Michael Brennan's Autoethnographic.  It's a strange, somewhat confronting experience. These little prose poems pack a punch, taking me places I'm not always keen to go, and opening doors philosophically, linguistically, and at times, viscerally.  They're mini-stories that use fairly standard sentence structure, but break past that into what is often hallucinatory, forcing the reader to look under the skin, beneath the surface of dialogue, conflict, characterisation and plot, and find something a little more complex and rich.  Here's one example from "Authentic":
There is no one to save us from these microbes, the shuffling deck. So many points on/our horizon we could launch out from the/random mutation we share.  Onwards then, until we find each other ready-made and to order.
I've only just begin plunging into this book, which is as fun as it is intense.  The sensibility is very modern, moving between the joy and terror of the circus, to social networks, texting, global warming, Tag Hauer watches to the Dalai Lama. I've still got a a long way to go with the book, but I'm finding the reading quite exhilarating at this stage.  If you want more, here's a complete piece from the book titled "Who is Alibi Wednesday":  that takes a rather shocking (and moving) look at the migrant experience: "When you feel the blade's tongue lick your throat,/you are still giddily scratching surfaces, falling in love with the city."

Cognitive dissonance here we come. Autoethnographic is Brennan's third full length collection. He is a lecturer in the Faculty of Policy Studies, Chuo University, Tokyo, and is the director of Vagabond Press, and the Australian editor of Poetry International Web.

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