A few posts back I reviewed the latest, lovely publication by Ce Rosenow, proprietress of Mountains and Rivers Press. One of her press’s publications, Thomas Rain Crowe’s The Blue Rose of Venice, is reviewed today by Ron Silliman on his blog. Here’s hoping the exposure brings many more readers to her site!
I’ll let Silliman’s review speak for itself, but do want to point out one element he missed in the poem he quotes by Crowe. The poem, ““The Song of the Gondolier,” goes like this:
A single wooden paddle
from a black boat on dark water
the only sound
the gondolier begins to sing
into the evening
and the mouth of
a cellular phone.
Silliman remarks on the placement of “as” on a single line, but oddly enough (for a man who has noted his penchant for counting things) Silliman misses the fact that “as” is the exact middle of the poem: there are 5 lines above and 5 lines below. One might be forgiven for seeing this as more than a device for framing the gondolier; it also seems to emphasize the contrast between the iconic, traditional image of Venice and the “absolutely modern” gondolier with his cell phone. Being startled by the irruption of the modern is a common experience for travelers in any ancient place, I think, and Crowe’s “as” serves to heighten the surprise.