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For books published in 2004:
Dark Regions Press, 40 pp. $6.95. darkregions.com
Clark’s forte, humor and horror, is displayed here in a series of horror poems that I would have, from the title, guessed were film-related. Not so, but there is one I liked that fits the bill, called “The Discovery in Roger Corman’s Trunk,” which begins:
The mad-eyed Mr. Price
is alive and unwell in this forgotten film clip,
streaking towards the dark edge of the universe
in a warp driven Cadillac hearse.
I might have liked it better if “warp-driven” were hyphenated; correct punctuation use is important in poetry when the poet is not using experimental forms. Still, I like this imagistic poem, and most of Clark’s poems are quite imagistic, all leaning towards darkness even in those that are sfnal. I like some of the science-fiction poems the best, especially “First Contact”:
You encounter the alien
in a kaleidescope full of past fears,
primal memories, movie images,
ectoplasm vagaries, or nightmare reruns,
whatever it takes to make sense of the
swirling distortion of time and space before you,[…]
When his poems present images like this, they work, but some of the poems seem to require a punch line that never quite satisfies, and the endings of some of the poems seem pedestrian or obvious. Nevertheless, there is enough good stuff in here for me to recommend it, and it is probably the best collection representative of the various types of poetry Clark is known for.
Previous years: 2003