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Book Review


The Paperwork Rebuttal: Modern Love.

Byline: Reprint from Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: The Paperwork Rebuttal

Author: Daniel Roche

Publisher: Philistine Press

Date of Publication: 2013

Pages: 42

“Never gonna fall for
Modern Love walks beside me
Modern Love walks on by
Modern Love gets me to the Church on Time”
-from Modern Love by David Bowie

The Paperwork Rebuttal by Daniel Roche is a modern caper of high angst, at times hilariously funny and at others a true rendering of the art of serious poetry. The poetry is fashioned into public information forms, the kind for filling out income tax, for jury duty, for the dissolution of a marriage, etc. typed and exquisitely neat, yet a soulful, considered rendering of poetry. Sometimes the poetry is high camp, sometimes sincere romance but the creatively ensized words inside boxes is a true stylistic anarchy. Perhaps a protest against the disembodied, sterile, public information function, the “anonymous” population vs. the man, the poetry is a sophisticated personal vent that reshapes the nature of public space, as if denying the autodidact and forcing the public servant/the government/the machine to see him as a human being. Daniel Roche (Poet/writer/playwright/teacher) studied English and creative writing at San Francisco State University earning an M.A. His poetry has been published in journals and his plays performed in San Francisco, California and Taichung, Taiwan. He currently lives and teaches English at a college in Huadu, China.

This exciting new work begins with an Income Tax form and tells the story of a reluctant accountant, which immediately casts a shadow but he is looking for a new career which gives him some redemption. It is the story of his grey routine and everyday grind, boredom with his wife and family, that leads him into an affair with an associate. The story in poetry unfolds in poetic narrative and sometimes in a series of inchoate broken word constructions, at times quite funny and at others serious, there is beautiful garden imagery running through the work and a reunion with a positive ending.

The Jury Duty form contains a narrative of very dark humor about an autodidact working for a mortgage company and his sole cat campanion. There are the older noisy lovers upstairs, with an unfortunate story about his cat, at the end he pulls “accountant” humor about his upcoming role as a jury member.

U.S. Solidarity as Poetry/Indefinite Patriarchal Ailing Report. This is very enigmatic, reminiscent of sterographic poetry, 2 or 3 words in a series of boxes, borders on the DaDa Movement after W.W. I, with completely nonsensical presentation. But may be telling different stories in broken truncated thought forms as if one side of a conversation, an expression of a violent society.

“Department of Transportation HIGHWAY-RAIL GRADE CROSSING OMB No. 2130-0500

                     ACCIDENT/INCIDENT REPORT

1. I’m Jealous of the Driver’s Smouldering Heartache

1a. Enough Loss

1b. As if His Guilt/Blood

2. Contained in the Wreckage are Yellow Heels

2a. Enough Singed

2b. As if my Daughter/Flare

3. Attached to the Tracks are Pennies

3a. Enough Crushed

3b. As if an Afternoon/Complacency

4. Stole My Sense of Fire, of Intimacy, of Laughter

5. Taken by Accident/Lost

6. As if I am Debris/Choking

7. I walk with purpose 8. Retracing 9. Steps 10. Taken Lush

11. Away (She was born in June) 12. Ashamed by my baldness or breath

                                                            Passivity __ Patterned __”

The themes of the poems involve broken personal relationships, whether it is the man living alone with his cat, or the autodidact struggling with his marriage, or a society scion eventually discovering love at a flower stall, these are inside messages of the very conflicted intimate spaces of the Western World, rooted in a Machine Age service economy. My favourite was the Petition for Divorce in which the man being petitioned wants to remain married. This unique presentation, a work of poetry breathing fire.

This groundbreaking book of poetry, mixing dark realism and humor with romanticism is a unique and fantastical read, breaking with traditional styles to be a truly original offering in the New Age Renaissance Republic of Poetry, a brilliant read, The Paperwork Rebuttal by Daniel Roche.

Available @ Philistine Press

Genre: Poetry, New Age

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