JOHN YAMRUS: 78 RPM
422 N. Cleveland St
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This page last updated: 14th December 2007.
|JOHN YAMRUS: 78 RPM|
This is a small poetry chapbook, with twenty-two pages of work, totalling seventeen poems in all, with two monochrome illustrations. (These, and the cover art, are credited to Wayne Hogan, and all show a surreal and imaginative temperament.) The author is described as widely published and 78 RPM is his fourteenth collection.
In some ways, the fact that this is the author's fourteenth such collection, together with its low-key, very unassuming presentation, struck me initially as off-putting. The combination made it seem as though this was likely to be filled with private rants and unchecked enthusiasms. In this impression I was very wrong.
Instead, what emerges is an attractive, personable voice, neither loud nor lacking in convictions. The poems have a conversational quality, with short lines and often epigrammatic ironic endings (which mode can become a little repetitive at times). They are the work of an intelligent mind and a feeling heart. There is no mistaking their acceptance of themselves as highly individual, even against the grain, as the opening poem, OLD RECORDS, makes clear. Here is the first segment:
OLD RECORDS With their skips and scratches and hisses and pops make me feel good.Likewise, the poems uniformly make it clear that the author is not alone in his life and that he values the contribution all manner of things make to that life. Here is the conclusion of MY DOGS:
and when they're not barking, they're sitting there waiting for something to bark at. good dogs.The poems detail affectionately, but without sentimentality, the affairs of a life crowded with small things, made precious through their contact with the author's feelings, many of which he details with unashamed curiosity, and unfeigned wonder. One of the longest poems in the collection, entitled OKAY NOW, IT WAS FRIDAY NIGHT, is a kind of mini-epic, detailing a sort of homely, folksy little debauch of sorts. Here is the last section:
and we danced to the Stones, The Tractors and Willie Nelson and Dion and The Belmonts and finally walked out into the drive-home night, tired and happy, smelling of beer and smoke, glorious and content in the 1 a.m. stars-out night, in a parking lot with wind in the trees in Blandon, Pa.So, if there is little in the poems that will startle, there is also little that will dismay. They are a quiet, yet modestly passionate set of lyrics, reminiscent in some ways of the tone of Gregory Corso's work, but possessing a wholly individual outlook and a very likable manner.
|reviewer: John Ballam.|