Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Burdock 4

Issue four of the Milwaukee-based literary journal Burdock is out, and it contains some wild stuff, including poems as stickers — yes, some of the short poems here come printed on sticker paper, ready to be stuck up some place they are (no doubt) not welcome, like police stations or Wal-Marts. There are three solid poems from one of Milwaukee’s best up-and-coming young poets, Zack Pieper. One is the simple and ironic “The American Dream”: “The In-/ Exhaustible/ Search/ For more/ Meaningful/ Sex.” Burdock favors the short poem, to be sure, but includes a few which run to the length of a full page, while Eric Adams’ prose goes to two.

Mostly, however, it is a magazine of short blasts and grit, with a few deserving nods to Kerouac and Ginsberg, whose influence on the Milwaukee scene is notable here. For me, some of the other standouts were Jason Groth’s untitled exegesis of a strip club (“The air is violent breasts shoulder driven into sad agate eyes…”), Dolly Lemke’s autobiographical “Birthday Cake,” Karl Saffran’s send-up of the Beats, Tim Miller’s “The Bulgarian Town of Batak” (which deals with a Turkish-propagated 19th-century genocide — “infants who died sliding down the length of a Turk’s bayonet…”), and David Brannan’s and Tyler Farrell’s Catholic explorations. Wait, that’s nearly the whole issue…

Editor Keith Gaustad has some nice things to say about Ancestor Worship: “Ancestor Worship reads well and the poems do not all work around one theme. The strengths of Mike’s writing are his ability to celebrate a place using brutal starkness and at times a rough honesty, the kind that puts you on the wrong side with friends. I suppose if things were never ugly then they’d never seem beautiful. Putting that all in one poem can be risky, next thing you know you’re an essayist, unless you keep a bit of love in the language and Mike has that from his ancestors, some of whom were old-school rappers and some were Irish revolutionaries. From KRS-One to W.B. Yeats, Mike B channels genius from all of the greats shedding light on the divided who are obliged to their fates. Word.”

Burdock 4 also includes two of my own newer poems. And a cool cover by Anna Shovers (above). To obtain it, contact Keith Gaustad at burdockmagazine@yahoo.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The double launch went very well.
Liddy and Chapson read for B-squad along with about 8 other young writers. Eric Adams, Dolly Lemke, Karl Saffran, Jason Groth, Kristin Markowski and Zack Pieper read for Burdock. So there was a built in audience but aside from the readers about 30 other people helped pack the back room at Von Triers thanks to the power of the internet and friendship.
Keith