Broken Jaw Press
Arguably there is poetry to be read on the page which is separate from the kind of poetry meant to be heard, but looming overhead is the determination of whether it’s even poetry at all.
Hugh Hazelton’s Antimatter is a duet for book and DC, and the writing is particularly unique: …a
stands for is
an arbitrary or conventional sign
Hazelton’s work is attention-getting, highly political, and raw. It aims to show the repression, oppression, and violence in society, and does so by bombarding the reader with image after image of left-wing anti-capitalist post-colonial lines like these:
let a 305-foot-high copper-plated statue
of a neoclassical female figure
with a radiating metal halo
be a … material symbol patriotic symbol
nascent national mythology symbol
one empire conquering AfricanIndochina
I would think that Hazelton’s experience with French, Spanish, and Portuguese translation might have resulted in more attention to the nuance of words. While not without its smug charm and catchy turns of phrase (like “scatalogical gotterdammerung”), the haphazard line breaks and action-packed material are best suited to performance. Even so, the recording bears such predictable resemblance to the page that it sounds much like a straight reading.
The book jacket states that poetry should “bite, caress, stroke, laugh at, confront, lament, name, imagine, envision, remember, invoke, counterattack, and reflect.” Antimatter certainly runs the gamut, but whether it’s poetry or anti-poetry I’ll leave for you to decide. mRb