Book Review of Russian Novels by Luke Bloomfield

tumblr_mxifdqRGlX1qg6jspo1_500Russian Novels
by Luke Bloomfield

Factory Hollow Press, 2014

Reviewed by L.C.O.M

IN THE YEAR TWO-THOUSAND FOURTEEN a publishing company called Factory Hollow Press (a division of Flying Object and a publisher of books, chapbooks, and broadsides! In limited and trade editions!) published Luke Bloomfield’s first book of poetry called Russian Novels (33 poems).

Additionally, a few more spectacular events that occurred (in the form of poetry) included Bloomfield’s experiential expose of Paris in “When I go to Paris,” his detail of envelopes fisticuffs in “Fistcuffs,” his rendition of painting in “I was a Painter,” and his deliberation of cake eating in “Have some Cake” (to say the least).

In all seriousness, Bloomfield has shown us (and reminded poetry writer novices like me) that poetry truly can be fun, experiential, experimental, and random as well as serious, earthy, elemental, and honest. To be frank, my favorite poem is “Today I Am Feeling Radical About Hypothetical Things That Exist In A Parenthetical Way” because the title is ingenious and it is honest, touching, and beautiful. Look:

I have an urge to do a thing and a bird falls out.
Month of buses and slush, I put my hat on
and make an I just put my hat on face to no one.
I pour coffee into my mouth and read a book.
I catch a bird in flight without crushing its wings
I look into its eyes and there is mutual recognition
or even we communicate telepathically.
I have you, I think. I have you, it thinks back.

Ambiguity. It’s Bloomfield’s expertise—coupled with indirection—each poem makes you think about the multiple meanings that could be attributed to each word, each sentence. He makes you rethink literality…like in “I Switched The Moon With Ham” (I wake up with the ham shining/through the window on my face./Window panes cast intersecting shadows/on my astronaut sheets./The steady clip of the bath tap/undulates in my upside ear and a cat mewls./A vague desire for the ham’s mystical properties/fills me with pride and angst […]) or like in “The Other Intelligentsia” or even “Peking, 1925.” Bloomfield reinforces that poetry is everyday and Russian Novels shows us just that—it’s a super fun read that is also deep and full of life.

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