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แบนเนอร์ตัวอย่าง
แบนเนอร์ตัวอย่าง


Disenchanted and Disgruntled by Michelle Hartman article

 

 

Is That What Awake Is?

A Review of Disenchanted and Disgruntled

by Michelle Hartman

 

 

Michelle Hartman’s debut poetry collection from Lamar University Press (2013) revels in frolic. She flaunts rapier wit and unique voice, but beware. Just as you catch a joke to chuckle with her, she flings you into a chasm so deep, you find how dark darkness can be. Casually turning the page, readers enter the kingdom of deception: abuse by parents and lovers, the father-son conundrum, terrors among innocents, and girls who wish their princes would turn back into metaphorical frogs, because once out of the dream the princes aren’t fun any more.

 

Hartman delights as storyteller, though she claims it’s the (“. . . former Texas Roping Beauty Queen’s version of events.” While entertaining readers with a subversive, sometimes ribald view

of plots we previously thought familiar, she also considers the erotic and even violent nature of feasts (passions) we had longed for. Each course on the menu becomes less trustworthy, more dangerous. At first we laugh; in the next moment, we worry about

                        So much eating . . . .

                        poisoned apples, children baked

                        in witches’ ovens, giants eating

 

                        men and wolves eating grandmothers

                        girls with hairballs in their cleavage

 

The popularity of myths and fairy tales is cyclical. In the 1980-1995 period, many well-intentioned parents and educators decided to omit such genres from story time because they might cause nightmares. Children themselves would scoff at such wimpy fear-mongering on the part of their elders, for the young have long adored gory stuff with rolling heads, gleefully following the adventures of fur-covered monsters. Cautionary tales taught behavioral norms (don’t play with matches), insights to social interaction (be kind to others), and provided generous doses of jolly good fun. Fables, myths, and fairy stories are mirrored in cultures far removed from each other by distance and centuries, a rich resource for artists, scholars, and writers. Hartman explores the best (philosophical) and worst (auguries of familial horror) of fabulous elements, but perhaps her greatest skill lies in exploiting subtext and symbols relevant to experiential and psychological transformation. Here is a poet with the courage to chop away at ice blocks of personality so that something true can emerge at awakening, whether from dream or nightmare.

Nor is she afraid to tackle hermeneutics. In “Jesus, interrupted,” she stalks one of the Big Questions:

                          what if you wanted to travel

                          but your people need you

                          to die . . . /what if you were not

                          the one foretold, simply

                          the one available

 

Sorting out a life can be pleasurable, if playing with others, as all poets do with their readers; but essentially, the Self is a kingdom where one travels alone. “That’s how life is,” Hartman reminds. At some time, everyone becomes an Other, carrying “our own packages.” As for the rest,

                        . . . they have gone on with their lives

                        and you are too far ahead

                                    to return.




 

Reviewed by Sandra Soli.

 

Sandra holds an honors M.A. from The University of Central Oklahoma. Former teaching artist and poetry columnist, she received an Oklahoma Book Award in 2008 for her second chapbook; her first was a finalist for that honor. Other prizes include LSU’s Eyster Poetry Prize and two nominations for the Pushcart Prize. Sandy has published articles, flash fiction, and photography in addition to her poetry, which has appeared in such journals as Southern Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, Ruminate, Parody, The Oklahoma Review, CyberSoleil, Sugar Mule, Ellipsis, Oklahoma Today, and War, Literature, and the Arts; and anthologized most recently in Shifting Balance Sheets: Immigration and Cultural Attachment and Broken Circles, benefiting food pantries. Her article on prose poems appeared in the 2009 edition of Poet’s Market. War and the outsider experience are recurring themes in her work.

 

 




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Expecting Songbirds, Selected Poems 1983-2015 by Joe Benevento
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Her Texas: Story, Image, Poem & Song by Donna Walker-Nixon article
Lavando La Dirty Laundry by Natalia Treviño article
Behind the Yellow Wallpaper: New Tales of Madness (New Lit Salon Press, 2014) article
The Goatherd by Larry D. Thomas
A Walk on the Wild Side and Nonconformity: Writing on Writing by Nelson Algren article
The Lobsterman’s Dream by Larry D. Thomas
Pretty Boy by W.M. Cunnigham article
Communion by Nettie Farris
Catholic Boy Blues by Norbert Krapf
Choctalking on Other Realities by LeAnne Howe article
Ransomed Voices by Raby, Elizabeth article
Lives of Passion by Gene McCormick article
Dakota Blues by Lynne M. Spreen article
Uncle Ernest by Larry D. Thomas article
Subterranean Red by Kathleen Johnson article
Walking Toward Solstice by Anca Vlaspolos article
Blackjacks and Blue Devils by Jerry Wilson article
Night Flight by Kerry Keys article
Red Fields: Poems from Iraq by Jason Poudrier’s article
The Mindful Writer by Dinty W. Moore article
The Kingfisher’s Reign by Jonas Zdanys article
Along the Watchtower by Constance Squires article
Petty Offenses & Crimes of the Heart by Mitchell Waldman article
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