A book worth reading for the life lessons it recalls, in spite of the ironic fact that the protagonists of this story, by nature of their privileged circumstances, seemed to have been largely exempted from the initiations of life’s burdens and responsibilities at this point in their lives. It’s the reader’s own hindsight that completes this portrait of an era, set in the summer of 1969. The story revolves around the emotions, observations and uninhibited interactions of a group of young and casual socialites that come together in the Hamptons-Sag Harbor scene and end up hashing out their attractions, impulsive philosophies of man-woman relationships, daydreaming and experimenting with a degree of urgency.
The notion of any memoir of what it was like to be young and engaged in the summer of 1969 gets confused with the grandiosity of myths about the counterculture. But here, the author assures us that being an unformed romantic youth, full of yearning and naïve aspirations, self-indulgent and ardently single-minded, was no different then, than it is now. Friends give you trouble instead of companionship and family seems indifferent to your real métier.
The narrative flow in this novel reminded me of watching an Eric Rohmer film! Here are the quotidian moments of hanging out on the beach but contemplating the attainment of being elsewhere, moving around at vacation pace, but psychologically sprinting. They strain to be intelligent and articulate, winning over the admiration of their peers, but they frequently fail to live up to their own desires to connect with each other. There is the contrast between what the characters say and what they are actually doing, and how things turn out, that fuels the drama.
I gave it 5 stars because it’s a great study in social collisions, one which perfectly describes why the baby boomers were also wistfully dubbed the me generation.
— Jane Stevenson
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Hurray, I am pleased to announce that Romance with Small-Time Crooks by Alexis Ivy Reviewed in the Summer 2014 issue of Rain Taxi.
Romance with Small-Time Crooks | Alexis Ivy
by Sherry Chandler
CURRENT PRINT EDITION
Volume 19, Number 2, Summer 2014 (#74)
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Collaborating with Mahmoud Darwish without his consentRead more »
Tom Hibbard reviews APOLLO: A BALLET BY IGOR STRAVINSKY
by Geoffrey Gatza
APOLLO: A BALLET BY IGOR STRAVINSKY by GEOFFREY GATZA
TOM HIBBARD Reviews
Apollo: A Ballet By Igor Stravinsky by Geoffrey Gatza
(BlazeVOX [Books], Kenmore, N.Y., 20140
GEOFFREY GATZA’S APOLLO:
NIETZSCHE, ROSE SELAVY AND THE FORGOTTEN
UMBRELLAS OF ELMWOOD AVENUE
“…this [artwork] itself is our catastrophe…it says that the catastrophe…has already occurredbecause the very idea of the catastrophe is impossible.”
Did the universe begin as a mistake, a crime? As some horrendous mishap? According to Christian mythology, in its beginning, Creation was a smooth-running paradisical garden inhabited by only a solitary couple, Adam and Eve, along with all the natural creatures and God. God told Adam and Eve they could do anything (eat anything) in paradise, except they could not eat the fruit of two trees at its center—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life—perhaps more potent or toxic fruits whose taste would catastrophically cause them to become self-aware and dissatisfied. Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately, Adam and Eve listened to the snake, “the serpent” and ate the fruit of those trees. God cast them out of “paradise”—and thus began the bumpy history of civilization.
In the same way, at an unsuspecting lulling blissful moment in oblivion of spring 2011 (“April is the cruelest month”), poet and publisher Geoffrey Gatza decided to visit an exhibit at the local art gallery, the Albright-Knox art gallery on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, New York. The day was rainy, and Gatza took with him an umbrella. Art galleries are similar to paradise. The walls and floors are spotless; the lighting is precisely beneficially measured; the abundant spacing of the artworks is idyllic. As Gatza absorbed and enjoyed discussing one of the works at the Albright-Knox gallery with friends (noting that white is an “ambiguous” color), he was asked to leave by a security guard because he was carrying an umbrella.
In this way, Gatza was also cast out of paradise. In my opinion, both the fates of Adam and Eve and Gatza are similarly somewhat arbitrary and predictable. Though God expressly gave them this one restriction, as God of all Creation, he must have known that Adam and Eve would succumb to doing what they were told not to do. The mysterious prohibition itself tasted of forbidden fruit. This Adam-and-Eve tale could only be some sort of preface to the unfolding of human development, with the so-called “Fall” in the Garden as the revelatory opening of the discourse of humanity becoming responsible for its actions. Had everything gone as outlined and continued in endless bliss, many essential events and ideas that in Christianity’s own doctrine lay ahead could not have taken place, including the giving of the Law, the ideas of grace and ascension, the Apocalypse, the appearance of Elija and of God’s son—Jesus, who, in his lifetime, compared himself to that self-same serpent in the wilderness being “lifted up,” that is, articulated and embraced for what it really meant and was (is). (Ferlinghetti once said about Kerouac that he liked his writing once he understood what Kerouac was doing.)Read more »
Max Avi Kaplan’s photography capture a glamorous 1950’s high-style woman who is spun into a wife who reveals the unglamorous side of domestic bliss under Kristina Marie Darling’s skilled hands. I am not able to share the photos that pair with each poem, so please sneak a peek any way you can and/or purchase a copy for yourself, the photos truly set the scene for each piece. A woman named Adelle, who longs for domestic bliss and finds none, she is one who abandons the notion only to reveal the complexities of having been part of married life and then no longer being part of the world so highly touted by conventional society. The balance of being married and no longer being married tilts back and forth in the pages as Adele’s thoughts melt into readers’ minds as Darling challenge the “conventional norm.” Darling and Kaplan bring forth the all too familiar diatribe of women who “snag a man” only to become invisible to them as they keep the house clean while also trying to strap on their high heels and dresses only to find their once devoted lover glued to the television screen or worse, running off to be with another woman who has distracted them away from home. Below I am happy to reveal a few samples:
ADELLE BURIES HERSELF FOR A WEEK
I always wondered what it would be like to live alone. Back then I thought I might still acquire friends, hobbies, or pets. I knew I’d keep the tea kettle warm, real daisies blooming outside the window. What I didn’t imagine back then was the stillness. Every room seems like an ocean. I tried buying myself new things: a television, some dishes, a new bed set. Now my pillow is soft but the stone walls are firm. No one ever wants to come in for tea or cocoa. Every time I close my eyes I hear the kettle shriek.
I love this piece because it hits home for me in a different way. Whenever I lived completely alone I found myself very happy yet noticed that the social life dropped off in a dramatic way just as Darling indicates above. I especially love the line “Every room seems like an ocean,” because I know exactly what she means. Each room’s emptiness vast and expanding when you are all alone. When you go to bed alone, you imagine sounds that are not there because there is no one else to distract you from yourself. Here Adelle is adjusting to life on her own and finding the balance of trying to make herself happy in this new state of being alone while thinking about all that she wishes for such as friends dropping in or pets greeting her at the door.
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READ THE WHOLE REVIEW HERE