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Earthbound by Kenneth Radu — review by Mark McCawley

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Earthbound by Kenneth Radu

 

review by Mark McCawley

 

kennethraduearthboundEarthbound by Kenneth Radu
DC Books, Short Stories, November 2012
ISBN: 978-1-897190-87-6
162 pp., 5.5 x 8.5, $18.95 CAN

Novelist, short story writer, memoirist, poet — Kenneth Radu is a Quebec writer who writes obsessively in English. Author of more than sixteen titles, Radu’s body of work is quickly approaching the exactness and preciseness of a writer reaching his zenith — his short story collection, The Cost of Living was short-listed for a Governor General’s award, and he has twice won the QSPELL Prize for his story collection, A Private Performance and for his novel, Distant Relations.

In Earthbound — his most recent collection of short fiction from DC Books, following his short fiction collection, Sex In Russia: New & Selected Stories, also from DC Books — Radu continues his ongoing exploration of dirty realist narratives, finding the most extraordinary within the seemingly ordinary and banal of settings, which proves there is really no story not worth the telling (especially in the hand of a talented storyteller or fictioneer).
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Tsunami of Love: A Poems Cycle by Eddie Woods — review by Mark McCawley

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Tsunami of Love: A Poems Cycle

 

by Eddie Woods

 

review by Mark McCawley

 

Tsunami-of-Love1Tsunami of Love: A Poems Cycle by Eddie Woods
Barncott Press, Kindle Edition, 2012
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
ASIN: B006TM8UDC, 51pp
Tsunami of Love CD
Amsterdam, Ins and Outs Press, 2007
ISBN/EAN: 978-90-70460-09-9

In the preface to Eddie Woods’ 2011 Barncott Press Kindle edition eBook, Tsunami of Love: A Poems Cycle, Glasgow writer/anthologist J.N. Reilly says: “I cannot think of a poem similar to ‘Tsunami of Love.’ I doubt there is one; a gaping wound cauterized with such honesty.”

There is, however, one other poetry collection that immediately comes to mind. It’s been thirty-five years since I first read Leonard Cohen’s Death of a Lady’s Man and Eddie Woods’ Tsunami of Love: A Poems Cycle is the first cycle of poetry since that time that matches Cohen’s collection in terms of the demise of modern love, common-law marriage, sexual desire, and sexual obsession. Both poets deconstruct, reconstruct, criticize, explicate their long, passionate, sexual affairs. Both are by turns tender, despairing, sarcastic, erotic, self-loathing, prosaic and ultimately sublime in their depictions of intense love gone awry. As collections, each certainly does uniquely compliment the other. I cannot think of one without thinking of the other. Indeed, in the annals of poetry and world literature, I know of few collections so closely and intimately related. A connection deserving of further study.
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Guilty of Everything: Herbert Huncke in Amsterdam — review by Mark McCawley

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Guilty of Everything: Herbert Huncke in Amsterdam

 

Reading at Ins & Outs Press

 

review by Mark McCawley

 

Guilty of Everything- Herbert Huncke in Amsterdam“Hunke, whom you’ll see on Times Square, somnolent and alert, sadsweet, dark, beat, just out of jail, martyred, tortured by sidewalks, starved for sex and companionship, open to anything, ready to introduce new worlds with a shrug.”

~ Jack Kerouac, “Now it’s Jazz”, Desolation Angels, Chapter 77.

Hobo, narcotics addict, merchant marine, gay hustler, petty thief, convict, storyteller, writer — Herbert Huncke began living an underground life after dropping out of high school in his sophomore year in Chicago, drawn to the underbelly of city life, and quickly began learning how to support himself as a professional drifter and small time grifter.

An autodidact, and primarily anti-academic, Herbert Huncke, whose lifestyle and easy manner of speaking influenced so many, (eventually famous authors and poets, e.g. Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg) coined the term “beat” to name a generation.
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Mosquitoes & Whisky by Chris Walter — review by Mark McCawley

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Mosquitoes & Whisky by Chris Walter

 

review by Mark McCawley

 

mosquitoes & whisky coverMosquitoes & Whisky
by Chris Walter
GFY Press, 223pp, June 27 2012
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
ASIN: B008XP5XLU
Literary Memoir

Chris Walter is an underground literary diamond in the rough, unapologetic, unpolished, hitherto uncut by the Canadian literary establishment. Laced with booze, sex, drug abuse, poverty, despair, low income labour, violence, deviance, criminality, and dark humour — Mosquitoes & Whisky is both Walter’s first title published by his aptly and sardonically named Gofuckyerself Press, in 2001, as well as his first coming-of-age literary memoir (or his initial “autobiographical punkalogue”).

What shocks the reader even more than the absolute urban desolation of circa 1970s Winnipeg — which acts as a microcosm for any small urban prairie city (Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina) — is the post-sixties conservative zeitgeist that pervades Walter’s memoir. It details the author’s struggles to escape his own liberal parents deteriorating marriage that mirrored so many other children’s parents surrounding them. Mosquitoes & Whisky gives candid snapshots of implied or impending physical, emotional, and verbal violence. One review I came across could not imagine how Walter could possibly become so angry.
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The Plastic Factory by Ron Kolm — review by Mark McCawley

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The Plastic Factory by Ron Kolm

 

review by Mark McCawley

 

Plastic-Factory-front-coverThe Plastic Factory
by Ron Kolm
ISBN: 978-1-57027-236-3
Autonomedia, $5.00 US
32 pp, 8.5 x 5.5, saddle-stitched
Fiction

“I try to remember in the course of my day-to-day life that there are people out there doing things that are not very healthy… I try to keep that in mind that there are people dying out there; that the very things that make our lives easier are making other people’s lives worse… I use to have this whole equation that for every so called “plus” there was a “minus” — if you were a well to do family that had all these things, that somebody somewhere was sacrificing something…” ~Ron Kolm, commenting on ‘The Plastic Factory’, The Idiom Magazine Podcast #2

Originally published in five parts and as a 1989 Red Dust Pamphlet — In The Plastic Factory, Ron Kolm draws from his own experiences working in a plastic factory in his work of post-realist fiction.
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