Review by Julie Carpenter
In this short collection of sonnets, Drew Pisarra ruminates on the birth and death of a love affair destined to end, and all the stages in between. The poems are by turns touching, passionate, vulgar and hilarious.
By following the sonnet form, Pisarra provides a method to the madness of love that inspires distillation, each poem focused. Although sonnets can seem precious or even ponderous, the poet wields the style lightly, playfully. He pushes against but still somehow channels the passions of angsty first love. The sonnet form also provides an appropriate form for the more acidic currents of aging love and the bitterness of breakup.
In one of my favorites, Sonnet 411, the writer manages to convey the odd confusion of his doomed love affair:
There’s so much omitted, so much sidestepped
so much that never quite passes our lips.
What I never learn is what I’ll never forget.
You’ve touched me without leaving fingerprints.
Now half-truths smolder in a chipped ashtray
But what you mean to me, I couldn’t say
Pisarra uses humor to good effect, not as mask, but employing it to season the real, raw feelings of love, the way the bitters bring out the flavors of a cocktail or salt the flavor of chocolate. In this poet’s hands, the sonnet is a surprisingly modern form, primal, intense and funny.
You can purchase the book here.
About Drew Pisarra:The author once toured his monologues around the country and even had a ventriloquist act but has since retired from the world of dummies. His short story collection Publick Spanking was published by Future Tense some time ago. More recently as part of the installation art duo Saint Flashlight (with Molly Gross), he’s been finding inventive ways to get poetry into public spaces.