Book Review: The Cosmic Purr: Poems by Aaron Poochigan

 

Book Review:

The Cosmic Purr: Poems by Aaron Poochigan

09.20.2012

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

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Category: Poetry

Author: Aaron Poochigian

Format: Trade Paperback, 68 pages

Publisher: Able Muse Press

ISBN: 978-0-9878705-2-0

Pub Date: February 29, 2012

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The Cosmic Purr: Poems by Aaron Poochigian is a debut collection of poems that Poochigian fills with metrical verse and a portion that readily emotes a translation of the classics.

While Poochigian’s writing is extravagant with language and uses a few wonderful and stark lines of simile or imagery as in lines such as:

I had forgotten/snowflakes could float about like this, like cotton/from cottonwoods, like tufts of crystal pollen. – From “Grand Forks, MD,” p. 3.

He also has a knack for momentary poetry in an example as small and detailed as spilled win in the poem, You Klutz, with:

the cause, a splatter of Shiraz,/gathering back to impact on/her vintage cashmere sweater, vaulting/ –  p. 27.

While the whole of the poetry collection tends to be too wordy and flamboyant than more modern poetry alone, it’s this flamboyance that will either strike the reader as a hindrance between the audience and the intimacy of poetry or a talent for vocabulary or metrical verse as in the example of One Plus One: A Wedding Sermon:

soft ruffle versus worsted starch;/his sharpness, her florescence. How can they, each keeper of an obstinate ideal,/merge to a round cube, a squared circle? – p. 36.

Even so, the author’s poetry can at times feel non-sentimental, almost tart, and smug like the sting of a fresh bruise on the face of a gruff boxer. The undercurrent of his work has an innate pessimism from the voice of his characters’ poems. Especially poems with lines like:

Why shush her with another bottle,/swaddle her in my arms and hum?/Booze tastes best when the loss is bitter/and all love is a lasting battle. – From “Pulling the Wagon,” p. 28.

Or:

But I bet on the loss, boys, and I buried/my sweet talk back along the interstate/ – From “The Last Bachelors,” p. 29.

I’m uncertain if this is a good thing, but then again, is there such a thing as translucent, “happy poems?”

As for the classics and their translations, I’m not qualified to criticize those, which make up the last portion of The Cosmic Purr. Understanding the classics, let alone Poochigian’s poetics would first be a requirement. And it’s not necessarily that they’re poorly written. No. I’m just not qualified to interpret and analyze classical works as well as Aaron Poochigian himself, who earned his Ph.D. in that subject in 2006.

If anything, I sense from his poetry his classical Greek roots, his instinct for metric rhyme, and his fusion of modern context and language. The result is both a gritty and smooth language that become edible pieces on and off the tongue.

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Zara’s Rating

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A special thank you to Able Muse Press for providing me with a media copy of the book in exchange for an unpaid and honest review.

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