Tag Archives: Church of the Adagio by Philip Dacey

Recommended Reading for National Poetry Month 2

This is the second in a series of recommended books to read for National Poetry Month by the editors of The Fox Chase Review and hosts of The Fox Chase Reading Series

g emil reutter 2

From g emil reutter

 do-not-rise

Do Not Rise by Beth Bachmann

http://www.amazon.com/Not-Rise-Pitt-Poetry-Series/dp/0822963280

 pom

Pomegranate, Sister of the Heart by Carlos Reyes

http://www.amazon.com/Pomegranate-Sister-Heart-Carlos-Reyes/dp/0983997527

 i-ate1

I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast by Melissa Studdard

http://www.amazon.com/Ate-Cosmos-Breakfast-Melissa-Studdard/dp/0988944758/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411651757&sr=1-1&keywords=i+ate+the+cosmos+for+breakfast+by+Melissa+Studdard

 city

City of Eternal Spring by Afaa Michael Weaver

http://www.amazon.com/City-Eternal-Spring-Pitt-Poetry/dp/0822963256/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411581449&sr=1-1&keywords=city+of+eternal+spring+by+afaa+michael+weaver

 church-of-the-adagio

Church of the Adagio by Philip Dacey

http://www.amazon.com/Church-Adagio-Philip-Dacey/dp/0989705145

-g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. He can be found at https://gereutter.wordpress.com/about/

Readers Choice- Top Twenty Book Reviews at The FCR for 2014

Our list of the top twenty books reviewed at The Fox Chase Review Blog for 2014 based on readership. 
poem continuous us edition

Poem Continuous – Reincarnated Expressions – By Bibhas Roy Chowdhury- Translated by Kiriti Sengupta

my glass of wine

My Glass Of Wine by Kiriti Sengupta

LivingOffTheCountryCover

Living Off the Country By John Haines

1 (1)

Golden Cacti by Sunil Sharma

lastcowboys1

The Last Cowboys at the End of the World By Nick Reding

soouth

My South by Southwest – A Cast Iron Tempo Recollection by Elizabeth Stelling

chekcover

Celebrity Chekhov By Ben Greenman

words-not-spoken

Words Not Spoken by Vinita Agrawal

I ATE

I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast by Melissa Studdard

sound-of

Sound of the Ax: Aphorisms and Poems by William Stafford

lucky-bones

Lucky Bones by Peter Meinke

prin

Principles of Belonging by Joshua Gray

bloom

Bloom in Reverse by Teresa Leo

a16284

Red Seeps – Droplets of Doubt, Destiny and Devotion in Verse by Sadia Riaz Sehole

meena-kumari-the-poet-book-review

Meena Kumari the Poet : A Life Beyond Cinema- Translated by Noorul Hasan

shehadsomehorsespbkbig

She Had Some Horses by Jay Harjo

longwayback

Long Way Back to the End by Paul B. Roth

illuminated

In the Illuminated Dark- Selected Poems by Tuvia Ruebner

church-of-the-adagio

Church of the Adagio by Philip Dacey

yarbrough-book_

 A Sort of Adam Infant Dropped: True Myths by R. Scott Yarbrough

Church of the Adagio by Philip Dacey

church-of-the-adagioPaperback: 98 pages

Publisher: Rain Mountain Press; First edition (July 1, 2014)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0989705145

ISBN-13: 978-0989705141

 

Reviewed by: Dennis Daly 

I don’t know about you, but lately life’s gales seem to gust past me toward the thin-lipped, unforgiving horizon. I’m always looking for that bloody slow button. Philip Dacey offers relief by setting up his Church of the Adagio in the artificial spaces that creativity engenders. His poetic moments linger until they don’t. Time stops and starts as anticipation surges through the connecting nerves as you climb over the profane and the sacred stanzas, easing into and then merging with the lines. It’s damn reassuring. He makes it so.
 
In Llama Days, a serendipitous poem plotted out in formal verse, Dacey considers the many facets of wonder encompassed in a brief meeting of unintroduced species, a parsed parley, which changes the very nature of time twice: first, the convocation itself suspends the protagonist’s disbelief, and second, the poem, itself emerges out of artistic (read daydream) time. Here’s the moment of decision in the heart of the poem,
 
But llama? I’d never noticed one before,
though no doubt my surprise at seeing him
was matched by his at seeing me—or more
then matched, he being lost, freedom become
 
a burden twice as bad as any bars,
so much so panic struck and he turned back,
high-stepping it onto the road, two-laned, tarred,
and I saw the headline, “Llama killed by truck.”
 
Dropping the rake, I raced to rescue him,
Who now stood frozen, straddling the centerline…
 
Attempts at political poems crash and burn all the time. The more self-righteous the poet the better the chance of failure. True believers rarely produce first rate art. There are exceptions however. Dacey’s poem News of the Day, for instance, takes three historical examples of man’s inhumanity to man, cedes some freedom to formalist techniques, slowing down a river of natural anger, and creates three hardened jewel-like pieces. He sets his inspired words into two rondels and a sonnet. The Hiroshima rondel is beyond exceptional. The last stanza burns into you,
 
The room reshaped itself around me, night
disguised itself as day, and words, undone,
turned ash. Gone blind by ecstasy of sight,
my eyes read fire. When spines began to run,
I turned the page and fell into the sun.
 
Another curiosity in this book is the way Dacey moves almost seamlessly from formal poetry of the strictest type ( rondels, villanelles, sestinas)  into languid free verse and then back into formality. The relaxed prosy narrative of Dacey’s free verse poem White Trash lures you into an ongoing joke with very serious undertones. The poet opens his piece matter-of-factly,
 
When middle-class blacks
moved into my family’s neighborhood
in St. Louis in the Fifties
and we and all our neighbors
moved out, the property values
soared. Lawns greened, junkers
disappeared. I realize now
I was white trash.
 
Maybe I’m still white trash.
My parents never told me.
Did they know? Do they know now?
I like having a clear identity,
if not the one I’d have chosen for myself.
I’d long ago accepted the notion I was
gutter Irish…
 
My Allen Ginsberg Story, Dacey’s humorous poem of admiration, rocks one with fastidious details of stage props and prescribed paraphernalia. One doesn’t usually associate the word fastidious with Allen Ginsberg. And here lies the rub. Ginsberg apparently acted as a diva before readings with assorted ecentric demands. The myth of artistic spontaneity slows down and breaks into component parts in this piece. Ginsberg leaves nothing to chance when it comes to adding honey to his tea. The piece’s form, free verse lines, as Ginsberg might have written them, almost adds another layer of irony to the poem. Here are some lines from the heart of the composition,
 
Ginsberg saw me looking at the traffic jam
of paraphernalia and smiled. No doubt he knew
the effect of his phone call—beyond bizarre, honey
as an emergency. But now it seemed the act
of a consummate pro, perfectionist even, showman
not about to let an accident break a spell.
I thought of Whitman, whose “spontaneous me”
didn’t stop him from revising some poems for decades.
He’d agree that to place a honey jar and spoon
amidst that crush would ask for a disaster.
Still smiling, Ginsberg said, “You see what I mean.”
 
Leaping between the arts of dance and writing Dacey’s poem Nijinsky: A Sestina  describes both the medicinal and the madness inherent in the famous dancer’s life. It turns out that Nijinsky was also a talented diarist whose words soar as they detail ruin and degradation.  Dacey’s sestina in homage to Nijinsky is a short-lined poem with odd end words that Najinsky sputtered out nonsensically at one point in his life. But there is no nonsense in Dacey’s poem. The piece is a triumphant pas de deux between the poet and his subject.
 
One of this collections unusual pieces, The Cockroach Ball, skitters in with beautiful phrasing and organic unhesitant rhymes. Dacey uses the villanelle form here and it is lovely. Along with the obvious humor, the poet expresses his rather wondrous sensitivities. The poem works! Cockroach love in the midst of poverty—who would have thought it possible?
 
My advice: worship at Dacey’s Church of the Adagio for the very best in contemporary poetry. And do it as soon as possible.

You can check out the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Church-Adagio-Philip-Dacey/dp/0989705145

 

Dennis Daly-Dennis Daly has been published in numerous poetry journals and magazines and recently nominated for a Pushcart prize.  Ibbetson Street Press published The Custom House, his first full length book of poetry in June, 2012. His second book, a verse translation of Sophocles’ Ajax, was published by Wilderness House Press in August, 2012. His third book of poems entitles Night Walking with Nathaniel was recently released by Dos Madres Press. A fourth book is nearing completion. http://dennisfdaly.blogspot.com/