Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Eohippus Greeting Card Series 1 and 2

I have to confess that when I am presented with justified blocks of text in poetry anthologies, I usually turn the page. I find that some of the sloppiest and most derivative writing often occurs in prose poems, for reasons not entirely clear to me. Not so with the work in the Eohippus Greeting Card Series (1 &2) published by Eohippus Labs in California.

The press's website promises "36 Pages of Real Emotion," and these poems deliver just that. Apparently capitalizing on what I thought was a singular phenomenon in my own life--namely the fact that my grandparents (RIP) used to recommend that I "make some money" with my poetry by writing greeting cards. These anthologies pair black and white images with (mostly) prose poems which are conveniently "categorized" on the title page (for example, Allison Carter's "For the Love of Love" promises "BREATHTAKING LUNG-CLEAVE, TRUTH, GRUMPY RETORT, and COLD REQUEST). The poems themselves subsequently categorically adumbrate said emotions in compelling, sometimes whimsical, always engaging way.

The range of tone in the tomes is diverse and satisfying. What could easily devolve into an orgy of Flarfy self-congratulatory irony instead runs the gamut from ironic (Joseph Mosconi's "Untitled" telelgraphic blocks of epithets: "Oh. Fuck. Fuck. Okay. Maybe, no.") to intense earnestness (Carribean Fragoza's sublime "Portraits, Underwarter: Chuy": "Underwater, the crumbs soak in the pockets of the apron you are wearing. If I put them in my mouth they are still sweet.") What all of the works have in common is their agenda of fulfilling the epithet in the anthologies' colophons: "Everything we feel is real!"

So, in order to appease the spirits of my dead grandparents, go and order both sets of these greeting cards so Eohippus Labs can "make some money."

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