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Pavement Saw - 2006

  • Issue Number: Volume 10
  • Published Date: 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

The "Low Carb Issue" of Pavement Saw is a tasty buffet of (primarily) narrative and list poems. The writing is concrete, unpretentious, idiomatic, unadorned and occasionally surprising, a welcome remedy for all the lofty, self-important abstractions found in The Paris Review and other journals. The writers follow Levine, Wakoski, Tom Clark. There are traces of Bukowski and Ginsberg. "Eugene's Drive to Work," by Don Winter, is a representative example. Perhaps Eugene "is / just like his father: / same shift at Hamtramck Auto, / same bottle of whiskey, / same reckless fights." Despite echoes of Prince's "When Doves Cry," the characters and setting recall the lyrics of Willy Vlautin from Richmond Fontaine. The deliberate pace of Winter's poetry—as with much of the journal—is similar to a Malick film: the poems aren't forced or prodded; there's no sprint to the finish. The references in Pavement Saw tend toward the mundane, not the highbrow; the language is typically simple, colloquial, precise, sometimes unsettling (in the best of senses). Leslie Anne Mcilroy, for instance, alludes to "the ass end of a piano" ("Again"), which works very well; a more literary or pedantic image would have been, in the context of her poem, misplaced, clunking and just dead wrong. This is an impressive collection of verse. My only reservation is the Forward, which is written in a rather ridiculous pseudo-Beat style. [] -Andrew Madigan

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Review Posted on June 30, 2006

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