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rondakron

Ron Dakron

Novelist and poet Ron Dakron. My most-recent novel is "Hello Devilfish!" published by Three Rooms Press

Thanks to all who entered the Goodreads / Hello Devilfish! Giveaway

If you won a copy of Hello Devilfish on the Goodreads giveaway - congrats!  If not, why not pick up a copy here?  

 

Reading at Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
Reading at Le Poisson Rouge, NYC

Swing State: A Novel

Swing State: A Novel - Michael T. Fournier In Michael T. Fournier’s fab new novel Swing State, the really thrilling part is when Zachariah Tietz slumps into school and — no, wait can’t give that away. Anyway, the scene that really rattled me was when Dixon Dove heads into that abandoned — nope, that’s a spoiler. Maybe during the soccer game when Rick kicks way too hard at — dang, same prob! Fournier’s Swing State is a compelling hybrid of Updike suburban angst mixed with — I kid you not — true action. It’s Leave it to Beaver meets Hunter Thompson meets a very angry Gumby and Pokey. Get on board for the zooming plot and stay for the wry, compassionate prose.

Raising Girls in Bohemia: Meditations of an American Father: A Memoir in Essays

Raising Girls in Bohemia: Meditations of an American Father: A Memoir in Essays - Richard Katrovas Richard Katrovas' book of essays Raising Girls in Bohemia is an incisive, Montaigne-like foray into the male psyche. Katrovas purposefully wanders through varied family scenes, including his own perilous upbringing with his jailhouse dad and his careful husbanding of his daughters between Michigan, New Orleans and Prague. His themes and opinions def make you blink and think. The lyric style of the essays worms its way into your reading pulse—it’s a heart-worming story told by a master, chocked with tone and irony, signifying substance.

Bukkake Brawl

Bukkake Brawl - Made in DNA "The cut burned with a maddening man-made piss-crackle fire. Was the jackhole in front of her hopped on on Accelerated NanoHerpes!?”

Porn? Sure. Poetry? You bet—don’t be fooled by the spooge rubes drinking this lyric glycerine—Mr. Made in DNA has hijacked the rudest of genres for his own sneaky consonance. “Bukkake Brawl” pushes the limits, kicks them in the nads and flattens censorship with a manga chop to the larynx. Lke all good writing—this blend of porn, scorn and blatant cornpone is tres liberating. Read it whenever you’re tempted to self-censor.

I Fold With the Hand I Was Dealt: Poems

I Fold With the Hand I Was Dealt: Poems - Peter Carlaftes Peter Carlaftes’ latest book of poetry—i fold with the hand I was dealt—is a trickster’s romp through love, religion, death and suburban rec rooms. Carlaftes often uses structure as an anti-device—the skeletal six-part structure of the book is “flung down and danced upon” (as Mark Twain noted) by his playful prosody. The poems either bloom into a unexpected synthesis—or snort with a rude punch line. This systole/diastole of structure and non-structure pushes the book into daring prosody—and also provides some savage humor.

Carlaftes’ work creates a generational, calmly amorphous biography for you 60s kids. Some of the poems are either autobiographical or a cunning simulacrum. But no matter if the bio material is auto or not; it’s all here—the bizarre suburbia, the darned love, the American upheaval personified in the dashed and broken folks one meets in any doomed city. Carlaftes encounters with the Catholic Church and teen hitch-hiking mirror my own to an, ahem, disturbing degree. The joyous blasphemy of the poem calendar christ is worth the cost of the book alone:

check-out
that sweet dish
tacked –unclad
to cross

not to mention
what beautiful
nails

Carlaftes is influenced by—but not slavish to—such major poets as e.e. cummings or Ezra Pound. He’s also at home using a snarling proto-Bukowski persona when it suits him, but his work is much more whimsical and thoughtful than that drunk L.A. beast. Working through the modernist urge to encapsulate experience in short, dazzling thrusts, Carlaftes adds a willingness to both use the conversational when needed and damn the explication when life demands its own complexity mirrored back.

Carlaftes brandishes multiple voices and styles to rake us over his poetic coals. In the Pedigreed Progeny section, Carlaftes’ Pandarin Orange uses a gleefully-warped faux voice:

next stop on list
find Lotus – whom
learn tighter grip
make fat lip soon

But the main—and most satisfying—aspect of this book is its raw emotion. Without going either maudlin or shrill (you try balancing between those two sputtering cardiac poles), Carlaftes serves up an honest self examination of his mistakes and amours. Few writes can do that nowadays—and even fewer poets. Get this book, grab a bourbon and settle into Carlaftes’ carnival mind.

Our Lady of the Hunger: Poems

Our Lady of the Hunger: Poems - Kat Georges, Peter Carlaftes Our Lady of the Hunger—poems by Kat Georges

In Our Lady of the Hunger, poet Kat Georges hungrily devours love, politics, memory, sex, feminism and whimsy and transforms them into a muscular poetry demanding to be read aloud. Her poetry is an homage—not an imitation—to that black humor both the Surrealists and Dadaists championed.

Our Lady of the Hunger is loosely built around the theme of raw desire—and what’s rawer than hunger? Both the poems Hunger Sinner and Lithium (in my view, the best two) go right for the open throat. Georges’ poems combine both conversational Walt Whitman prosody and the D/C direct-current wire of sonic, clipped enjambment that runs from Emily Dickinson down through Sylvia Plath. But wait—there’s more—many of her poems have that rarest of spices—humor! Yes! In Hunger Sinner—maybe the best poem in the book—she dishes out nearly slapstick text:

I am…A new vacuum cleaner, and just look at those dirty carpets
Let me at them. I’ll suck it all in
The dirt, the hairballs, the little wheels off of things.

Give me your tongue, your dick, your socks, your shoes.
Give peace of mind so I can chew it apart.

It’s her attention to detail—“the little wheels off of things”— that make her poetry sing. Georges humor includes that funniest of subjects—sex. Take these lines from Every City Is Its Food:

American people:
you fuck standing up
easy quick deals
couple sucks and
you’re gone

But don’t assume it’s all fun and running with scissors here. Georges also delves into some naxty stuff—the terrifying rape relived in Esperanto shows her calm ability to recount the darkest incidents. Georges can dance on reality’s knife edge without becoming the sliding onion. She’s also quick at querying love and philosophy a la Yeats. From Ruby:

basic human nature blanks the word

from consciousness and seeks
revenge to make the isn’t is.

My advice? Get this book—it’s cheaper than cognac and better than cable. Plus if you get the chance (as I did), show up at one of Kat Georges’ readings and hear her poems in all their sonic glory and subtle razzmatazz.

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief - Lawrence Wright Wanders a bit with cliche authorial voice about 2/3 through (really, the author can't know if someone actually picked the keys off the table) but given Scientology's vindictive reactions to any criticism, a brave book. And really creepy.

Don Quixote

Don Quixote - Roberto González Echevarría, John Rutherford, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra Strangely, there are many post-modern techniques used in this early novel, including author self-reference, satire of the "canon," etc.

The Curse of Lono

The Curse of Lono - Hunter S. Thompson, Steve Crist, Ralph Steadman Not his best not his worst - and he knows a surprising amount of Hawaiiana about the Big Island. He gets that unique Kailua-Kona blend of goofy savagery just right.

Who Is Mark Twain?

Who Is Mark Twain? - Mark Twain I'd say he needs the money, but he's dead...

Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin

Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin - Hampton Sides Really 3 1/2 - great journalism marred by some of the purplest prose I've read.

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers - Loung Ung There are certain books where "style" is an obscenity - this book's truth outshines its minor writing flaws.

Ape and Essence

Ape and Essence - Aldous Huxley Started strong but then petered out. May actually be the first Road Warrior script.

Life

Life - Keith Richards The co-author on this book manages to create a coherent, amazing narrative out of what must be insane hours of taped conversation--reads like Benvenuto Cellini's autobiography. Really. I'm not teasing you.

Andersons Fairy Tales: Grimms Fairy Tales

Andersons Fairy Tales: Grimms Fairy Tales - Freud meets Disney meets your amygdala