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eye~rhyme - 2004

Ah, Portland. Village on the Willamette. Microbrewery capital of the world. Stumptown. Rip City. And, of course, the Rose Garden—and what an intriguing assortment of roses to be picked. Taking a trip through the latest issue of eye~rhyme is like having an impatient child pull you through a circus of kerosene-doused cannibals at a Sunday stroll’s pace. This anarchic, bipolar spirit can be found everywhere in this anthology of the Portland arts scene. It’s in Nick Jaina’s “Sadness: A Field Guide,” which uses dead-on conceits to describe obsessively every way of being down in the dumps. Under Lethargy: “This is a poor excuse for sadness. This is dragging a sack of tuba bells behind you. Where are you taking them?” It’s in “Night Soil: Interviewing Walt Curtis,” in which the famed local bard Curtis fidgets, curses, and refuses to go along with the setup, resulting in a meta-interview that reads like a comedy of the absurd with dialogue penned by Edward Albee. And it’s ripe in every line of poetry from “You are a drunk / if her breasts mean more / than food, your next cigarette” (Matt Sorenson) to “I know that death is just another / way of changing the geography” (Curtis). Call it what you will: I still find myself caught between mellowness and hysterical abandon every time I pick this little book up. To top it off, eye~rhyme is eco-friendly, printed on recycled paper with soy-based ink, providing for a truly alternative read. 

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Review Posted on March 31, 2005

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