Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Subterranean Summer - Review


Subterranean Summer is a collection of 35 poems by Joe Maldonado. It opens with a note from the author and the index of the collection’s titles. The latter cover various topics, genres and ideas, in a variety of poetic forms such as rhymed-verse, free verse and Haiku.

The first poem in the collection is the one bearing the title of the book, “Subterranean Summer”. It is an interesting and thought-provoking piece with a good rhyme and flow to it. Following that is “American Cheese”, which is a short, comic but sad piece (in my opinion at least). Then, the reader comes across “Freedom Fries”. It is a piece with an interesting title and one that I absolutely LOVE! It opens with the following strong lines: “Honey, I don’t want your freedom fries,/or anything from your patriotic potato sack of lies,”. Towards the end, there is this line “prisoners of propagandized political paradigms.” Being an alliteration-loving freak, this is perfection for me; satire and alliteration. This line earns you two thumbs from me Joe.

“The End” a simple love poem to which many can relate. It is written using simple wording and a smooth rhyme. These are the lines that stood out for me (a very good thing): "But I guess this is how it ends./With a whimper, not an explosion."

Shortly after, the reader comes to the short poem “Notebook”; an utterly breathtaking piece with an extended image of love mixed with writing and sensuality. I could not pick a line or two for I simply indulged in this poem. I want to quote it whole (but will refrain from doing so).
*Hats off and round of applause for this piece!*

Moving on, the reader arrives at “Soundtrack of My Life”. I, personally, love the title of this piece and how it plays on various kinds of music, singers and bands. Shortly after, the reader arrives at “Fortune Cookie”, which is an interesting piece with some interesting imagery for a fortune cookie. I like the image and alliteration in "plastic prison". It is a poem of hollowness and loss; expectation that ends with frustration and "emptiness".

The collection also encompasses “Goodbye Wall Street”; a satiric piece about the world of Wall Street and brokers. I absolutely LOVE it! I must say this is the first time, for me, to see someone address or tackle Wall Street in poetry. *hats off Joe*

The poem “Beautiful Lies” is another piece that is both interesting and spectacular as it tackles truth and lies. It's one of those poems that carry weight. *thumbs up Joe*

I do not like the use of the “F” word in art in general and in poetry in particular (unless it serves an obvious purpose). In “I am a Metaphor” – and later on in another piece - I did not find that purpose. I do, however, like the reference to the Harry Potter series (or at least for me it's a reference to HP) in the "vomit-flavored jelly bean". The poem also contains some thought-provoking ideas and lines.

I absolutely love the message in the poem “Stay Tuned”. Although to me it feels and reads like rhyming or lyrical prose but it is nonetheless one of the strongest and highly satirical pieces in this collection. A must-read! It has many interesting lines, but to pick a couple, these are my favourite:
"With each show I watch I get slightly sadder/with each chip I eat I get slightly fatter".

Another satire-filled piece is “A Word from Our Sponsor”, which begins with: "Dear Mr. Corporate America". I like the sarcastic tone and the how it applies to all societies and countries.
"Dear Mr. Corporate America/here's an offer/not even the slimiest of you/can refuse". The opening stanza as a whole is dark, sarcastic and downright honest. And I like the use of the word ‘slimiest’. An applause is in order for this piece.

Shortly after, the reader arrives at yet another satirical and critical piece called “Boomerangs”. I particularly liked this stanza: “We are tired/of Pinocchio politicians,/wooden liars/trying to be human." Powerful imagery and alliteration always gets to me.

The poem “Somnambulist Stroll” is a dark piece filled with uncanny imagery. I love it for it appeals to my dark side and the imagery is just splendid. *hats off*
“Somnambulist Stroll” is another must-read piece in Joe's collection.

No poem is a better conclusion to a poetry collection as Joe Maldonado’s “One Last Thing”. It is a poem that bears words of wisdom and that ends on a hopeful note. I truly enjoyed this last piece; the perfect ending.
Thank you Joe :)

“Subterranean Summer” is a collection that encompasses many weighty satirical poems along with pieces on music, love, religion, sadness and more. I enjoyed the satirical pieces a great deal and though some pieces did not appeal to me, I think it is fair to give this collection a 4.5-star rating. (I feel it unfair to give a 4-star rating for there were many pieces that I enjoyed.)

Joe: I would recommend your next collection to be wholly satirical ;)