Review by Martin Abramson
By Wayne Guilbert, 35pp
Walking Through Lebanon
By John DeCarlo, 39pp
The Mighty Rogue Press
Paper, $10.00 each
By permission of Book/Mark Quarterly
Back in the bad old days of the 90’s, there was a hulking, independent printer in the Wm.Blake tradition, called Anthony Guilbert whose Karma Dog Press brought such luminous poets as Vince Clemente to the public’s attention. Today, Guilbert is back and just as much the maverick, his Mighty Rogue Press opening with a double salvo of two fascinating chapbooks. Without having space for full-scale reviews, let me venture a comment or two.
Wayne Guilbert’s Magma-Mystic combines the native chants of Ginsberg and Snyder with the wisdom of Rumi and the freewheeling exuberance of Willard Gellis. He explores the paleontology of Colorado which he relates vividly to his own history. In poems like “Medicine Chant for My Legs”, “A Dine Canyon Teaching”, “Box-Canyon Morning”, and “Analog Rumi-Jazz”, Mr. Gilbert displays the extraordinary power of disciplined language when merged with the bardic barbaric yawp. It’s well worth the modest ten buck toll.
John DeCarlo’s Walking Through Lebanon ranges much further geopolitically in more conventional free verse. His slide-show projects scenes of peace as well as images of war-torn places littered with suffering people. Of the former, we have “Return to Eden”, “Sunset at Ponte Vecchio” and “The Spice of Life”. The dark scenes are more numerous and usually tied to specific places, like the city of Berlin in “Lingering Motion” or Iraq in “After the Invasion”, or Lebanon in the title poem, or Peru in “In the Land of the Golden Inca”. Mr. DeCarlo magnifies the power of his poems by linking them to autobiographical experiences. His language is spare and precise for maximum impact, yet the poet never loses control of the music and meter of his lines. Walking Through Lebanon together with Magma-Mystic constitute an auspicious debut for The Mighty Rogue Press and leave our appetites whetted for future productions.