By Dennis Lee
Publisher: House of Anansi Press
paper ISBN: 978-0-88784-758-5
Page count: 72 pp.
Buckle up. The ride through YESNO is dangenerous; expect side blindswipes. It’s the perilous spinball dropping exhilarhausted into the tilthole of obliviannus horribilus.
My second reading of YESNO provided me a bit of grip on what was happening. The poetry was compact, intense, language wound up tightassed for a wingshot at a velocity in XXXcess of 100 metaphors a moment, words dereformed, deregulated concepts, images plattering on the wingshield of conventilation; Lee’s imagination comes at you like fuckflock of furies.
Duck! Incoming “sonic contusions”, “geodyssey”, “elderlore”, “toxiholic”, “cosmochaos”, “biophobe boogie”, “hearticulate improv”. Impact, umphact, after hairpin swerves every when and where. His poems ricochet off meaning. It’s jabberwonky for uncynicalistas, as in the poem “ave” which is a slobberstew of rubverbish and bilestys.
“How surd a blurward stut. How
… borbo of cacohosanna; of smew of
beluga of animavegetal pibroch --
mixmuster of raggedy allsorts, syl
labic in habitat soup
legacy toddlers, of
old soul avatar orphans”
Briefly, Lee emerges to do an e e cummings pirouette through meanfields of explosive poetential but he does it in the shade, a dark shade cast by crescent moonlight. The poem “noful” resonates with a gothawful tunetude:
“Sohib, go slow
tread light in the food chain
…the very air stinks of ambush”
And then Lee mugs you with bare-fisted meaning as in the poem “googoo”:
“whacked grammer of terra
cognita. Old lingo
aphasic, nuworldspeak mute
mutant mutandis --
aleph? whose googoo? which syllab? Test-living what
Schizoparse of am?”
This book is not for anyone. It is certainly NOT for The People. Actually, it’s hardly for anyone at all, except for the endangered species of cognoscentipedes, illuministas & other bloatbrains who are in the YESKNOW. Lee’s “lingotectonics” are lingotectoxic for The People. Laurie Anderson referred to her own compositions as “difficult music;” So it will go with Lee -- difficult poetency. It is poetry by the few for the few and farout in the twain between.
I have thoroughly enjoyed where Lee took me, and I am sure to visit him again, into the primavisceral to fullflopfrash in the original biodebris of our own evodilutionary imaginations crossing from mallville to swampburb and back.
Lee is indeed the “bupkus quixote” tilting at “corporate mindmills” with spermtaneous “impromptible knots of rebeing” leaving us “wordless in blinker blank.”
I love how Lee detonates nouns into verb debris. The opening line of this book states, “If it walks like apocalypse…” then Lee goes all primal dancing the apoetcalypso of language.