Review of e.s.p. in Prick of the Spindle

There’s a survey of “the Small Press Publishing Scene” in Prick of the Spindle 5.2 which includes a balanced review of e.s.p. by Will Cordeiro.

Despite having a few criticisms, the piece is thoughtful and well written — and I always appreciate a deep engagement with my writing. Here’s a little passage from the very end:

Through formal virtuosity and experimental panache Leong’s “project” attempts to evacuate the impulse of the muse-given spiritus, replacing it with vestiges of language in a void that acts as echo chamber. In the age of mash-ups and remixes, he offers us a pirate radio station looping eight-tracks scribbled out until they could almost be mistaken for static over the grainy fields and empty airwaves . Throughout this collection Leong admonishes the reader that if his poems appear word-drunk, then we should imbibe along with him in our acts of listening:

      but we’ll hush
   and cup
              our ears
      to hear
the voices     vying in the vowelswell—

Pleasures on such lower frequencies tend to boomerang, resembling the rush of blood shushing in a conch shell. As a shell may also trumpet forth a call, Leong’s poetry at its most successful similarly reverbs with our own mental feedback while additionally resounding with new interference patterns, even as we’re pleasantly lost in their whorls.

~ by Michael Leong on July 20, 2011.

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