Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Raucous Music: A Review of Sibum's Pangborn Defence

Poetry Quebec reviews Norm Sibum's Pangborn:

Norm Sibum. The Pangborn Defence. Emeryville. Biblioasis Books. 2008. ISBN: 978-897231-52-4. $17.95 (paper)

The image on the cover is of a mason jar labeled “Poems.” Inside the jar is a menacing photo of Black Hawk helicopters swooping low over a meadow and a small herd of sheep. The photo is repeated twice, as a full page at the front and back of the book. We’re in metaphoric country for sure, with plenty of low-flying politics and plenty of room for speculation. Are the helicopters about to massacre the oblivious sheep? Are we the sheep? Are we the Black Hawks swooping down? Is this an image of contemporary life – terror and violence mingled with hum-drum docility?

Norm Sibum’s The Pangborn Defence is a series of poems addressed to various people or entities with whom the speaker argues, reminisces, commiserates, muses, and otherwise engages in spirited discourse. This semi-epistolary form comes out of a long tradition made fresh in Sibum’s hands by his contemporary diction and topics, and by the undeniable energy, intelligence, and frankness of the poems. The book is a meditative rant, full of fire and play yanked up short by dead-seriousness.

For the rest of the review, please go here.

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