Monday, July 7, 2008

Siva in Rags - AJ Kaufmann

Siva in rags
Author AJ Kaufmann
Kendra Steiner Editions
chapbook review by David McLean

This is the debut collection by polish poet A.J. Kaufmann, it is short, almost too short, for he deserves a much longer book, and those will be coming very shortly I imagine. But this collection is appropriately short, just seven poems over ten pages, for the language is electrifyingly complex and perverse. It's a successfully attempted recollection and a collection of the dusty beauty of dried blood and a cold nose of crystals that don't reflect any stars except the stars in your own heart.

There are several Leonard Cohen references and the poems are imbued with a beat spirit though Kaufmann is better than the original specimens of that ilk. He is compared for example with Corso, but is so much better that it would be doing Kaufmann a real disservice to align him with the worst in that tradition.

The ending of Accidentally last summarizes the spirit

a poem to summarize
my anonymous
presence:
the disenchanted
final
doorslam
the 2 A.M. coughing
Cohen's old songs
& your reddening
curls

a poem scratched on asylum's
ceilings
w/ petrified
matchsticks:
a poem a lifetime long
the poem the straight jacket hides...

the poem w/ one word only:
"holy, holy, holy..."


Though there are so few poems here, there is more content, more “poetry,” than in other books ten times the length- It should cost a lot but it doesn't, and can be ordered from this url http://kendrasteinereditions.wordpress.com/2008/06/28/a-j-kaufmanns-siva-in-rags-kse-102-now-available/.