Thursday, September 24, 2009

Three Chico-area poets


Lyon Books in Chico is hosting a poetry reading and book signing tonight at 7:00 p.m. featuring Chico artist Bob Garner, Magalia poet Lara Gularte, and Chicoan Sanford Dorbin.

"Paper Dolls" (from features a dozen Bob Garner poems, several of which first appeared in Watershed and the California Quarterly. The poet takes the reader to places of the mind, "deep / into the country of night" ("The Dream"), to the "kaleidoscope / of broken bottles / just below the pier" ("Memory Loss"), "when death bangs on the door / with both hands and feet, / reasonably tired and irritable / from another day of pointless conversation. . . ." ("Learning"). No pointless words here.

Lara Gularte's "Days Between Dancing" ($10 from The Poet's Corner Press) is about hard things, tragedies, people "grateful for the night, / the black hole / that swallows up the glare of the day. . . ." ("Night"). In "The Haunting," the poet writes of her mother: "Her ghost still hovers, / reminding me that I slept / and drank from her body. / I fear she will come back, / hook me with her nails, / try to pull me back inside her." There is "Aunt Louisa Amaral": "She was like skim milk, / pale and thin. . . ."

Sanford Dorbin is a "septuagenarian, mobile division" and a retired academic librarian. Dorbin's acerbic perspective is on full display in "Saying Goodbye to Babylon" ($5.00 from The Singlefooter). Here's "Nomenclature": "'You must be,' he said / mouth foaming with disgust, / 'one of those--relativists // and I reply with a smile / dazzling as ice, / 'Absolutely.'"

But there's celebration as well. The poet, hapless dad, helps deliver "Bozo Supreme," who, later, "so verbally dexterous at two-and-a half-- / this little linguist laughs, and running the changes / like the bebop king he is, laughs again and allows / 'Bozo Sucreme' to appear. And he's right, / he is the cream--the top. He'll turn sour / when it suits him. . . ."

In "Weekend Out of State" two lovers "dress and descend / to the lobby, and breakfast, fitting like silk / into the echo of other people's chatter." A fitting way to end a book, and this review.

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