by Christopher J. Jarmick
MoonPath Press, Kingston, Washington,
2015, paperback, 188 pp., $20.00
Reviewed by Thomas Hubbard
Do you read or write poetry in Seattle? Have you ever read or written poetry in Seattle? Columbia City? Kirkland? Are you familiar with the term, Poem Starter? You do? You have? You are?
Then you must know Chris Jarmick. So you won’t be surprised, reading the first poem in this collection, “A Supermarket in Seattle,” to learn that it is not only a tribute to dead poets, but a very skillfully crafted, sometimes giggling, near paraphrase of Allen Ginsberg’s poem, “A Supermarket in California.” Look it up on YouTube, and realize this guy does his homework.
Nor will you be surprised, upon buying and reading Not Aloud, to find that Jarmick’s “Supermarket” takes you back to shake Ginsberg’s hand and laugh with him. And you will likely agree that Jarmick does funny about as well as anyone, including Dr. Seuss, another of his sources. But if you want something other than funny, turn directly to “Rides With Dad,” on page 112, and be sure to have a handkerchief handy. Not that it’s sad — it’s not. It’s a feel-good poem that could change the way you feel about family errands. But have the hankie handy, just in case a drop of rain … well, you know.
Perhaps you’re a lover of irony — maybe even irony about love? Then “Not A Poem About the Divorce,” on page 63, will please you. Ironic as it is, you will still get a belly laugh. This is a big book, so despite the Poem Starters (after all these years I’ve come to enjoy them), there are plenty of funny, serious, ironic, earth-shaking poems here that will change the way you see most anything, at least for a while.
This is another of those books you buy, then give away, then buy another. Might as well just go on and buy a couple. Not Aloud is a bargain. And the cover art, “When The Believers Try To Silence Their Gods,” by Duane Kirby Jensen, is a big bonus.
Thomas Hubbard, a retired writing instructor and spoken word performer, authored Nail and other hardworking poems, Year of the Dragon Press, 1994; Junkyard Dogz (also available on audio CD); and Injunz, a chapbook. He designed and published Children Remember Their Fathers (an anthology) and books by seven other authors. His book reviews have appeared in Square Lake, Raven Chronicles, New Pages and The Cartier Street Review. Recent publication credits include poems in Yellow Medicine Review, spring 2010; I Was Indian, ed. Susan Deer Cloud, Foothills Publishing, 2010 and Florida Review, and short stories in Red Ink and Yellow Medicine Review. He serves editorially with Raven Chronicles and The Cartier Street Review and he blogs about writing techniques for WordCraft Circle of Native American Writers and Poets.