Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Here's the text:

a review of C. L. Bledsoe’s Anthem by J. A. Tyler

A long-awaited release from Červená Barva Press, C. L. Bledsoe’s Anthem feels much more like a full-length collection than a perfect-bound chapbook sized tour of poetry. Bledsoe nails another selection of poems, creating some meaty rhythms and a nice evolution from his previous works.

from ‘July’:

Whip-snap of the sun on skin. We’d go swimming, but all the
water’s green, and I don’t know how. The trees are whispering
how human it is, today. Their needles drip boredom. The clouds
speak of shopping that needs doing, things to clean, laundry.

One point to highlight is how different and alter-ego Anthem is in comparison to the previously released _____ want / need. _____ want / need was a structurally playful, linguistically challenging chapbook of poetry arranged in definitive and precise waves of poetic art. It showcased C. L. Bledsoe’s daring with language and his longing to rearrange the structure of the sentences, much like his homage in the same vein with fish / ghoti literary journal.

from ‘February’:

Use your eyes like shovels; dig through the smog, the muck
in your head and see the mountains beyond the skyscrapers.
Something is rising like bread within you, but the slightest noise...

In this new collection, the arrangement seems far more free-wheeling, much akin to simply collecting Bledsoe’s words rather than presenting them in any sort of poetic narrative or super-connected thematic umbrella. And though there seems little of that kind of organization here, the overall feel of Anthem is interesting, a clear and sharp portrayal of a poet who can move from side to side, who can give us the driven poetry in _____ want / need as well as the wonderful and direct poems captured in the plentiful and fantastic pages of Anthem.


And here's an older one from Doug Holder's blog: http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2009/06/anthem-by-cl-bledsoe.html

Tuesday, June 02, 2009
"Anthem" by C.L. Bledsoe
C. L. Bledsoe
Cervena Barva Press

Review by Renee Schwiesow

Beneath the madcap stitch Bledsoe takes us on from hopeful to sardonic there is a thread that unravels to offer us more as each month poem within “Anthem” reveals its season. I was drawn into his unique observations with “Awakening,” an appropriately titled opening work that leads us toward “January.”

This is the month of lying
to ourselves
on couches
Life is waiting
for the bone toes to clip-clip through the door
find us sprawled about the business
of next

Just before “February” he pulls me into the life of a school janitor who makes me ask myself if Schneider could, just possibly, have had an internal depth that we were unaware of during our viewings of One Day at a Time.

And as March, “the Wednesday of months” rolls by, television makes its appearance on the page in the work, “Growing Pains in Syndication.” I was grinning by the time I read “Dr. Seaver, you never came for me,” and tearing up with laughter when reading the line, “Mike, you bastard, I trusted you,” which led to

Sat through Left Behind, for your
special message at the end, and it was all about the marketing.

I have to admit that by the time I reached,

And Maggie, what is there to say
between the two of us? Is your hair even blond?

I was still rollicking, holding onto “Mike, you bastard, I trusted you,” when I was slammed with, “Your eyes, empty and waiting.” And I recollected myself to absorb the impact of the entirety of the work.

While Bledsoe has been published in over 200 journals and anthologies, “Anthem,” published by Cervena Barva Press, is his first full-length collection. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and his poetic resume is well expanded upon with works such as the title work

slough it off like skin. . .

find a place or make it in yourself
they’ll never touch
wrap it in lead fire make it hot
to touch hate can motivate
but it burns out like a bad light bulb
and must be replaced. . .

Behind the frogs and death and absinthe squirrels, beneath a how-to on what to do with locked doors, Bledsoe’s words jar us from January’s couch, beg us to read between his lines before we become the aging starlet of December’s grey light. They beg us to sing from his Anthem

. . .if it helps
hot showers loosen muscles
cold showers loosen hate

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