2013

Blitzkrieg (Rain Mountain Press)

Blitzkrieg, covers a lot of territory, literally, from the Atlantic Ocean across the United States to the Pacific Ocean in prose and just as much ground figuratively in the thirteen poem sequence that begins the book. Blitzkrieg begins as a 13-poem sequence that progresses through a number of cities, symbolic locales and hauntingly provocative metaphors. The non-narrative style of the sequence was inspired by the life-changing poem "Portrait of an Inner Life." Introduced by a four panel illustration of "Portrait of an Inner Life" by cartoonist Yumi Sakugawa, the third chapter features 25 pictures of the poem as a sticker posted by street teams in Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Charlotte, New York and other cities. Photographs of the poem in a bottle art initiative taken by Brandon McCrea and three full size paintings of the poem by artist Scott Kirschner demonstrate how fine artists visualize the poem.

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What I love most about this hybrid collection is its humble conception. Born of the paradox of his own frustration and comfort with solitude.

Gosslee's poetry can best be quantified by action and negative space: the tug-of-war between absence and presence, spare language and the possibilities of each word. Gosslee has produced a movement in which readers are encouraged to participate.

Blitzkrieg, a thin volume by John Gosslee, is hard to define. The core of the book is a series of thirteen poems, all centered around "Portrait of an Inner Life," a poem that Gosslee says changed his writing style and inspired this collection. But this isn't a collection of poetry.

This is not a criticism. Rather it is an attempted elucidation of the juxtaposition inherent in such an ambitious project. Less a book, and more a sensory experience.

Blitzkrieg is filled with...quick, wiry sarcomeres loping through moments both intimate and impersonal, occasionally both at once. The second half of this poetry/prose diptych is infected…by the world that interferes with, grounds, fosters, and absconds with, poetry.

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