Movie Logic: Poems by Erik La Prade — review by Mark McCawley

Movie Logic: Poems

by Erik La Prade


review by Mark McCawley

Movie Logic PoemsMovie Logic: Poems
by Erik La Prade
Poets Wear Prada (February 7, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0615761232
ISBN-13: 978-0615761237
$12.00 US pbk | $12.53 CDN pbk | £7.55 UK pbk
36 pages, 5.5″ x 8.5″, Poetry


n Erik La Prade’s most recent collection, Movie Logic: Poems, Alan Kaufman, editor of The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry succinctly surmises that La Prade continues “his cinematic verse celebration of urbanity and human tenderness, showing us life freeze-framed into mise-en-scènes of hilarity and heartbreak…”

Published by Poets Wear Prada, also known as PWP Books — a small press based in Hoboken, New Jersey, founded by Roxanne Hoffman, and devoted to introducing new authors through limited edition, high-quality chapbooks — Movie Logic: Poems is La Prade’s second chapbook with Poets Wear Prada, the first being SWATCHES in 2008.

While in SWATCHES La Prade reveals both a cinematic and historical eye, his poems chronicle the essence of New York with a seamless quotidian focus of everyday reality making ordinary events appear extraordinary. For instance, the poem “An Erotic Memory of New York in the 1980s” is one such perfect Polaroid moment, chronicling new love on the cusp of the New Year on the Lower East Side:

Erik La Prade — An Erotic Memory of New York in the 1980s [Swatches, p.7, Hoboken, Poets Wear Prada, 2008] (from ‘Poetry Thin Air’, Episode 9, 2009, Recorded by Mitch Corber, series creator)

Intensely lyrical, La Prade continues his cinematic examination of reality, urbanity, and the human condition in the title poem of Movie Logic: Poems — “Is it cinematic truth / Or our own suspension of disbelief / We’re watching? It doesn’t matter. / We are here awaiting the inevitable.” (“Movie Logic,” p.25) By framing only what is essential in his poems, both visually and via his assimilation of everyday urban vernacular, La Prade transforms his narrative-realist poems into accessible urban myths:
Myth Making

I got up at 6:06 a.m. this morning,
Bought two newspapers and coffee
After walking the dog. By eight o’clock,
I’m finished with the world and its
Newsprint obituaries, fashion trends,
Politics, movie reviews and falling
Stocks. While the world moves
In one direction, I move in another,
Trying to contrive some mundane
Conceit more interesting than
The newsprint that stains
My fingers. Directed by habit
For cleanliness, I wipe my fingers
Off, using a page from my notebook
As a rag. Now, the ink is smudged —
Twice — and the world’s influences
Are made into a tangible
Form of paper, something I can
Shape according to my whim:
Self-portrait with World, as an
Old Master might title it, ready
To be framed or sold, according
To the fashionable tastes of The Market.

(Movie Logic: Poems, p.15)
Once again we witness how La Prade juxtaposes quotidian opposites with extraordinary cinematic flair, and how even the form of the poem, itself, mimics its content — that of a column of newsprint — by wrapping his lines in continuous loops onto the next, using punctuation as necessary signposts and line breaks. It shouldn’t work, but it does. An acknowledgement that this poet is firmly in control of his craft.

Playful, inventive, unexpected — Erik La Prade is wholly original with a talent for capturing those intensely lyrical scenes that encapsulate the special moments that make up our lives. Reading Movie Logic is like watching someone else’s home movies.

Erik La Prade Photo Copyright © Don Snyder, 2004

Erik La Prade Photo Copyright © Don Snyder, 2004

Erik La Prade is an American free-lance journalist, poet and non-fiction writer, living in New York City. He has a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature from City College. A chapbook MOVIE LOGIC, was published by Poets Wear Prade in 2013. Some of his writing/interviews have appeared in Artcritical, Art In America, and The Brooklyn Rail.
Note on the text: The editor wishes to thank Creator-Director, Mitch Corber and producer, George Spencer, of Poetry Thin Air, Episode 9, 2009, from which Erik La Prade’s poem is extracted. View the entire episode HERE.

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