C J PELLERIN: HOTEL DIEU
P.O. Box 326
ISBN 0 9738838 1 8
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This page last updated: 4th July 2008.
|C J PELLERIN: HOTEL DIEU|
C.J. Pellerin's exquisitely bound chapbook, HOTEL DIEU: LETTERS TO MADAME LEE, is determined not to betray, by its first appearances, its interior. Published in limited edition, in an elegant font, on paper flecked like a superior variety of vanilla ice cream, it hints at a collection of understated love sonnets or a leisurely essay on poets in the garden — not blood, bile, vomit and oversexed cartoon nurses with giant syringes, which is what we get.
The collection tells of a serious illness and eventual recovery. The writing in the first part is appropriately febrile: it snakes hysterically down the page, divesting itself of pronouns as if of control over one's destiny. It doesn't make for easy reading. ENDO— begins:
Sedative throat-freeze chin rubber clasped gag gag gag nothing left not even bileThe language of bodily dysfunction is made even more disturbing by images recalling violent pornography, as in DELIRIUM TREMENS:
Angry Asian girls strap hands feet tight to bed bars scream & scream for youThis is horrifyingly effective writing. Unfortunately, when the poems move from violence to cure, this turn is not reflected by a change in poetic form. HEALING is written in the same style as earlier poems: the extremely short lines, the lack of pronouns or punctuation. A technique that was so appropriate to staccato gagging and helpless victimhood is less appropriate to slow recovery:
Quiet Boreal Forest front platinum- skins fallen black- eyed Maple leaves legal- wigs mossIt is at this point that HOTEL DIEU, which opened with such fearful vigour, grows oddly dull. Even so, it never quite numbs the shock of the first few poems, and is worth seeking out for those alone.
|reviewer: Ailbhe Darcy.|