In Raymond Farr's 6th poetry book, potent poetry cascades down a L-margin pillar that's merely 1.75" wide. Nearly all the lines form correct complete sentences. W/in the given caging limits a primary quandary, worth some erudite quarrelling, creamed to the roiling rim of my read of ECSTATIC/.of facts, a language aquifer of aquiline sounds and keen preened teachings:
How should such structural limits be viewed in terms of Farr's lunar-far-reaching in order to pack fresh art into columnar cartons: a challenge or facilitator? Or both?
But I shan't hatch out such a discussion here. Reviewing a Dada-bred text lends to taking detour departures, or hopping from highlight to illuminating glinting pinnacle, especially when w/in the lines a broad breadth of image and language wreathes fused foil-phloem-word root systems 360°... Suffice it to say there is a tremendous amount of groundbreaking ground to cover.
Browsing the table of contents prepares one for poems of a peculiar brew -- ... "Grover Cleveland's Mustache was Wicked in the Gravy Boat,"... "Look Out Toboggan Here Comes Persephone in Her Boxing Gear,"... "Alotta Chickenends to Kook," ..."The No End Lagoons of Sand not Speak."...
The introduction sources two quotes -- Jean (Hans) Arp championing beating "the great Dada drum," and The Simpsons' ephemeral saxophonist Bleeding Gums Murphy, introducing himself. In the long hallucinatory poem smack dab in the book's middle, "The Pueblo Is My Name" another minor character reference from The Simpsons -- Ralph Wiggim - draws the poem's illusory drawbridge up after visits to: "Comeuppance Café," "Rooms to Go," "Lenscrafters," "an '06 Chevy Suburban [that] is a mobile pueblo defined by Madonna's wild eye," "Super Mario Bros." "a tavern trapped in a fawn's wild eye, replayed in a digital realm," "Skidmore's Printing and Copy," and "Ben Hur in the public psychotic episode starring Mel Gibson & the Chipmunks from Sesame Street," among other brand-new or brand-name depots.
In the 1st poem, "Plastic Foot Breaks Line," Farr walks the reader in w/
"A poet's wristwatch dwindles down to NoTime past(ure) or present(iment)."
This opening line establishes 2 of the collection's themes (time & the poet) as well as its resourceful use of punctuation marks ((double parenthetical)). On the poem's 2nd page, Farr summons the 2nd person (I think) to found and foundation that kernel rapport btw poet and audience.
"In yr honeycomb of crazy, you meet Little Debbie. You are no one that's real. You are not Geoffrey Chaucer. You manage a K-mart."
Time's non-stop ticking permeates the book, despite spilling into a latent fold after some metaphorical forays.
"Our minds are time, the big hand and the little hand, entering a silver door... In the buzz of a brain -- our brain -- we bat about a tennis ball, the whole earth a photo booth, a one-planet camera crammed inside a mall. For laughter is a flower bud. We sprinkle on some thyme."
The protagonist-type poet (doppelganger for Farr) and his work (the poem) never strays.
"We are one happy poet."
"We gather at the hearth of in the jet port concourse out in these boonies. Just gabbing like ghosts beyond the ink & nose of a civilized poem."
"I quipped like a tulip for you... I felt my way out of a poem we were in."
"The stranger the affect of strung together sentences lined in a row of Miracle Whip mayonnaise jars, the stranger the poet squealing as though teased."
Questions, rhetorical and worldly, abound throughout, often crumpling up in voice-crescendo'd pile-ups.
"Is this why we howl? Our lives a poem read only by friends? Who are they? These people who read us at a bus stop near blind."
Or loaded interrogatives wrap up (w/ a fiber-optic tin tinsel bow) a radiant absurdist run.
"To a city limits, the fungus spreads, all sheen and junk of crystal text. Another stooge appears tofu and running amok. I is the essence we point at and laugh. In any metaphor there are salt mines. Are you conflicted?"
The poet seems to be asking 2 ?'s in 1: reaching out to his reader to buy us a breath (are you having trouble following this poem's lithe labyrinth?) and suggesting we try looking inside (do you understand yourself?)
On the ecstatic (often eccentric) tour of ECSTATIC/. of facts one can sit a spell w/ the likes of Marcel Duchamp & Francis Bacon and spy a "minimart martian out of vitamins." But on the "tasks btw tusks," be sure to "get out the steak knives" because after all "the onslaught of language is the onslaught of a difficult pearl." Oh yeah, in addition "olives're my balls."
A formula or insight into Farr's stylistic intent mocked fermenting as time and again I glimpsed him pulping odd images & far-out phrasings down to their glossy cores, and then thundering on, skittish-attention-span-spawned, to the next new swollen-brimming-goblet-fed flood of verbal punch. Farr can surprise, exercise & conclude an invented argument or stage decoration in a single terse sentence.
Publishing a book benchmarks an artist completing a project. Once this final triumph is sealed most writers acquire some closure and aren't at all interested in grooming their mailed packages any further. That said, I bet a fair amount are rankled by certain sections, styles, word choices, line breaks etc. Now readers (certainly writer/readers) are wont to find subjective rough spots in books that they loved -- changes they would make if the they'd written the book.
I sincerely doubt Raymond Farr is itching to change a single thing about ECSTATIC/of. facts. Clearly I wouldn't either. Gleaning "falling crepuscular hands from stars," his book is "a pure disc."
Even as sentences get chopped and the surrealism portals to a less intelligible realm in the final three poems, the text remains heaped and housed w/ purpose. Each word, phrase, ?, :, image, character etc... seems planted (thumb padding soil upon seedpod), fostered (watered, weeded, sheared, shaped) and harvested whole.
So if you're up for the extra exercise of extensively exploring this cohesive curiously curated collection, poke at this splendid problem: How can Farr achieve such perfect-pitch graspable mellifluousness & consistent correctness, with a material that sluices and flumes full-throttle, spraying spontaneous stream-of-conscious surprises that often slip "silly silly," though never seem strewn willy nilly.