Thursday, February 23, 2012

First review of "Anti-Social Network" by CL Bledsoe.

You can't always judge a book by it's cover. "Anti-Social Network", my new chapbook from Redneck Press should be out around April and it doesn't yet have a cover. When it does, it will be developed by Sue Miller from GUD, who used her art magic for my story in Smokelong Quarterly. She also once whipped up the opposite; a cover without a book, for a fake vampire novel, featuring some of my friends which was hilarious as well as extremely creative. (Well, I laughed)



Most of "A-S N" was written in 2010, which if you know me explains a lot and if you don't know me, then it really doesn't matter. Either way I hope you'll purchase it and enjoy the work.






 Here is the cover of CL  Bledsoe's book Anthem. It's out on Cervena Barva Press, which put out "This is Where You Go When You Are Gone" and "Treating A Sick Animal".  (those covers by Annie Libertini).

Cort wrote the first review of "Anti-Social Network" , which I sent him without a cover on his Murder Your Darlings blog (see the link).

This is what he said:

 

 

Review of Timothy Gager's Antisocial Network

Antisocial Network, poems by Timothy Gager. Redneck Press, 2013. 


Many of these poems deal with outsiders, drug abuse, bar stories, the mix one would expect with the word 'anti-social' in the title. Gager manages to travel this well-trod ground lightly, though, and brings a lot of humor and insight. He begins with "Ode to the Wormwood," which is a kind of ode to the plant -- the Biblical apocalyptic scourge we're all so familiar with from TV. Perhaps wormwood is a metaphor for the author himself, "Growing on roadsides and wasted places" (line 1) or perhaps it's a metaphor for whatever feeds the alienation in outsiders, "the/ drink held in your hand, downed fast with eyes closed,/ resting on the passage in the Bible." Perhaps, even Gager is commenting on the addiction that is apocalyptic/religious fervor. Regardless, in a fairly brief poem, he manages a quite complex entre to this collection.

"Funeral with No Music" is a punch in the gut about a narrator mourning the death of his father and his dog at the same time. The dog, of course, registers the greater loss. Gager's word choice is clean and powerful. He describes burying the dog: "I sat there, my hair layered in sweat,/ the shovel caked with dry dirt,/ thinking dad deserves/ to die alone, the amount of times/ he cocked a gun to his head/ fucking with all of us." (lines 16-21). Gager balances his rancor at his father, his unresolved feelings, and his loss perfectly. I'm reminded of Carver.

There are several poems in this collection I could quote word for word because they rise from the clean, spare language to impart real feeling. One of the funnier ones is "An Angry Mel Gibson Gets a Dog" which I won't spoil, but let me say I'm not a fan, necessarily, of pop culture references, but Gager pulls it off in a surprising, very funny way.

All in all, I very much enjoyed this burst of poetry. Gager's passion on the page reminds me of a great, early 80's punk band, though, lyrically, he's much stronger (let's be honest). I'd be interested to see what he could do with a little more room to spread his wings. 



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