Jan 18, 2009

Bird Scarer by Glenn Sheldon

Glenn Sheldon's debut collection of poetry, Bird Scarer, is joyous in its imagery, like love letters to lives lived on vacation. These poems showcase the poet's sense of humor–uneasy yet comfortable in that unease at the same time. Sheldon creates and recreates his own reality in these poems, and whether it’s a failed anarchists’ picnic, a troubled past he’s praising, or a home he’s forfeiting, he stakes his claim:

I can't go home (I'm a bird scarer). Better to

hit a dance club, that loud denial of reality.

Carol's Speakeasy or the club down

the street that changes its name weekly?

Yes, that one. This week it is Pegasus

and not The Bat Cave. The bouncer nods

as if a Pope-in-training, and I enter a world

without clocks or bill collectors (but for

the bartender). I'm here, wherever that is,

where everyone dresses in black like vampires. (from "Bird Scarer")

Sheldon's images are witty and unusual; they add a rhythm to the poems that makes Bird Scarer a fast but stimulating read. Every poem is anchored firmly in geography, be it a specific geography of cities or nations or a personal geography of relationships:

Streets are full of humans wearing

Carnival's glitter; their beer cologne

make paths toward sleep almost sticky.

The past can pass for the future, but for

the final wink. Forward to the next city.

You show up as a hint in a used bookstore. (from "Whose City is This?")

I am excited to see the next set of maps Sheldon draws for us: what geography will they hold? Where will the borders be? What will the countries of future lovers be named? In Bird Scarer, every image is sacred and every poem a sign post for a life you might want to live for a day. One can think in Michael Ondaatje's terms, that "Poetry is what is left unsaid," but from postcards and borrowed horoscopes to love letters and class wars, Sheldon's poetry has lots to say and will not be ignored.

Bird Scarer was published in 2008 by Červená Barva Press. You can buy Bird Scarer here: http://www.cervenabarvapress.com/

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