Reviews



Age of Aquarius
Dianne Borsenik is a kind of Cleveland Poetry legend.  She attends everyone’s readings, travels with her buddy John Burroughs to read at Cafes and Coffeehouses all over the Midwest, runs a small press herself, and performs with a rare kind of energy that echoes so many forms of populism. Often funny, her poems are a kind off mix of heartbreak and comedy. She uses language that is clear, accessible and often uses rhetorical shifts. She can be bluesy, she can tell stories, she can write small imagistic poems, and she can make you laugh out loud, something rare in a poet. She isn’t scared of risking sentimentality and she can be directly political at times. She is musical. She can be unapologetically Reto-Beat. And she is…. Well, she is a fun poet. In the best manner a poet can be.  She is the kind of poet you could take your friend who had never been to a poetry reading, and they would have a blast hearing her perform. Perhaps she is who Lucille Ball would have been if Lucille Ball had been a poet and not a comedian.    

In this book, put out by Burroughs fine small Cleveland press Crisis Chronicles,  Borsenik collects her “Greatest hits” as she says.  The author of numerous chapbooks, this is her first big book and it is a good one.  Buy this and take these poems and read them on street corners, share these poems at work, at the hospital, at the bus stop. Here is a small lyrically prose poem, as much about sound and wit as anything:


"Everybody Must Get Stoned"
—Bob Dylan “Rainy Day Women”#12 & 35

It’s time to turn it on time to rock hard rock solid rock steady rock-a-bye baby time to rock out with your cock out rock and roll rock around the clock throw away the rocking chair and move it like you mean it time to rocket to the moon to mars to a comet to an asteroid they’re just bigger rocks anyway don’t take this time for granite

Sean Thomas Dougherty, author of The Second O of Sorrow (BOA Editions, 2018),
from
A Poetry COMPENDIUM: A Couple of Books of Poetry I Blurbed and Many Other Books Big and Small That Found Their Way to Me That More People Should Know Because These Books That Aren’t Banned Not Yet Dear Lord They Aren’t Banned But Didn’t Win Any Big Awards Just Might Get You Through These Difficult and Dangerous Times We Live In



Age of Aquarius

"Flower Power in Verse!
Dianne Borsenik is definitely a flower child. If there is any doubt, all you have to do is open the pages of this deceptively thin book to have your suspicions confirmed. She has a real knack for rhyme and rhythm (I especially enjoyed the internal rhymes), as well as puns, metaphors, and all the other trappings of enjoyable poetry. While many of the poems seem more sound based, meant to be read aloud, others benefit from silent reading. Some verses are more serious and pointed, some a bit naughty and playful. For example: (from "Sugar Spice and Everything Twice")


you make me see the stars of you
the pluck the strings of my guitar of you
the lick my mind and suck my diction
sense of humor, fact and fiction
of you

As I read most of these poems, I found my face aching from smiling, and when I read "HardDrive/SoftWear" I laughed out loud:


oh, link to me
with your hard
drive baby
fill my
inbox
with spurts of spam
IM me, befriend me
CD-rom, RAM
and send me
with kicks from your
naughty webcam

Yet there is a lot of strict form poetry, acrostics among the favorites, as well as some startlingly lovely poetry responding to other poets, such as in "Antiphon for Winter Solstice":

Be fierce--squeeze the fruit,
spike the juice, and garnish with rind.

if winter comes, can spring be far behind?

She is obviously a master of her craft with a gift for startling and perfect word choice. I most happily recommend this book to any poetry lover."
Catherine Russell


Bad Ink



“What a magnificent book, with Bad, Inc. as the title poem and first poem: the poem itself so great and here the way it is laid out makes it even more irresistible! And the fascinating layout continues and enhances two more gems: Pink Hell and Beat Nix. And then again the structure of the poem makes for a brilliant and innovative statement in Intimacy. Another favorite of mine is Moan Light Drive: love it as right justified! And your ending poem, Sugar, Spice, and Everything Twice is a fine jazz/blues riff! Thanks again for the astonishing ride of these poems!”
Tony Moffeit, co-founder of the Outlaw Poetry Movement, winner of the Jack Kerouac Award for his volume of poetry, Pueblo Blues


Corpus Lingua

"These poems are a delight  full of delight, energy, variety, warmth and wit and joy in living. There is a Mae West-Molly Bloom openness to life, a thrill in the senses, the body, in the smallest things: "picking up a new lipstick-/a shade of "sheer dusty rose" tagged "Dolce Vita"and thinking it is, it's a sweet life where you/ can smear velvet on your lips and/kiss the man you love with them." A favorite is "Hairy Situation." "If you've never kissed with your fingers/tangled in a man's long hair, you don't know the/unbridled glory of unbound, unbraided, free free-flowing /aphrodisiacal keratin filaments sticking to your lips..." Throughout the poems the speaker wants to savor every drop of living, each lick of Dolce Vita, the sweet life. "Nothing is worse than going halfway then stopping. She doesn't want to look back and have regrets over things (she) wishes she had done. This energy and excitement engages us totally as she takes us along with her to the 60's  to all kinds of places and times she's never been and out of the prisons for our taste buds, our lives, to new and exciting delicacies where no palate has gone before. She is going to see this party thru to the end" and she doesn't let us not go with her." — Lyn Lifshin, the Queen of the Lit Mags, subject of the award-winning documentary, Not Made of Glass


"Over the years, it has been a joy to sit, ponder, and absorb the poetry of Dianne Borsenik, both on the page and on the stage.  Borsenik's latest collection is both funny and sensual while keeping its finger on the pulse of Modern American pop culture and the ever-beating human heart.  This is a life well-lived, with an open mind and a healthy dose of laughter."— John Dorsey, author of Appalachian Frankenstein, a two-volume collection of poetry
"Kaleidoscopic meditations on parts of the human body, they alight with the staggered efficiency of birds dropping down to a wire, and have, at their heart, a wise hand that tilts skin towards the sun."— Tom Kryss, outlaw poet, publisher, artist, author of The Book of Rabbits and In the Season of Open Waters: Selected Poems


Fortune Cookie

"Cities have souls" and in Dianne Borsenik's two-part "Fortune Cookie" she explores "The City," "The Soul" and the myriad ways in which they interact. Although universal in appeal, several of Borsenik's poems are centered in Cleveland, its past and its present, good and bad. Consider these lines from "Cleveland Spelled Backwards Is:"

D
N
A
Level C
unwinding
at last
. . .revealing a ceiling
unreachable

Borsenik also deals effectively with self and soul, when to be cool, when to "Howl" with a capital "H" and what to do "When It Doesn't Add Up," that perfect storm "when the world of even / meets the world of odd" and "the earth shifts / uneasily."

Borsenik's syntax has a rhythm all its own, fueled by a judicious use of repetition and internal rhyme. It sweeps the reader irresistibly from line to line, starting with "Got Soul?" a brilliant, metaphor-driven catalog of cities ending in her own city and then progressing through a cathartic journey from "Doubts and Redoubts" to "Thaumaturgy."

This highly recommended collection surges with a poetic form of kinetic energy, but if you find yourself too intoxicated from "a sip or two / of the strong stuff," don't worry. Just "fasten your "seatbelts" and enjoy the ride." — J.E. Stanley, author of work appearing in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, The Rhysling Anthology, and many other publications



Grabbed Fortune Cookie to read while I waited...at the airport this morning.  It's really high energy and well written!  And kind of positive/negative at the same time.  Recommended!— Mike Finley, award winning writer, poet, videographer, author of Yukon Gold: Poemes de terre (Kraken Press).


Blue Graffiti

"As usual with Crisis Chronicles Press founded by its editor, John Burroughs, this hand-produced chapbook is gorgeous as a physical object—comprised of a crisp cover design with original artwork, front and back, a cardstock interleaf with appropriate floating fans, thick ivory paper, and a well-chosen font. Borsenik’s “little” book of “little” poems is told in haiku form in a series that seemingly floats like the Asian fans of the interleaf. With no capital letters aside from proper names nor punctuation between poems, two haiku per page except for the last poem, these postmodern fragments weave a delicate whole. Borsenik welds the typical haiku subject of nature with the urban details of the twenty-first century: “the only cloud / in this perfect sky / nuke plant’s vapor[.]” Like graffiti, these poems write themselves onto the man-made landscape: “origami: backhoes folding, unfolding / atop the debris[.]” The last poem leaves the series in thin air to direct the reader into an ellipsis of the unknown of sorts as well as back to the beginning of the collection to reread: “no guardrail / between us / and the[.]” This chapbook is a pleasure to read over and again."— Krysia Jopek, author of Maps and Shadows

"Blue Graffiti rocks. I like the fact that you mixed traditional and modern haiku. It lets the poems be what they should be, rather than forcing the poems into a form which may or may not suit them. Your use of metaphor is extremely effective in this collection ("dry riverbed rocks flowing between the trees," "watching darkness / bleach minutes into day," "laughter showing in the air" and too many more to mention). Too many favorites to list, but "favorite" favorites are "dry riverbed rocks...," "bonfire" and the chilling "no guardrail." And, by the way, "Blue Graffiti" is a perfect title for a book of haiku. Excellent work!!"— J.E. Stanley, author of work appearing in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, The Rhysling Anthology, and many other publications.


"Forget what you thought you knew about haiku. This is a beautiful book filled with haiku that are beautiful, unexpected. Even my daughter now loves and is writing haiku. Crisis Chronicles Press makes lovely books by terrific poets. Dianne Borsenik made even a humble dairy queen poetic. Buy this book!" — Chandra Alderman, photographer


origami:
backhoes unfolding, folding
atop the debris


"Possibly my favorite of this collection. Strong visual and very accurate.  Great eye...I dug a pond once on Forest Hills Blvd. with a backhoe, and I could feel my fingers pulling the levers as I read."— Stephen Bellamy


Thunderclap Amen
"What an amazing read, Dianne. Loved it."— Victor Clevenger, author of In All These Naked Pictures of Us.


About "Polar Vortex" — "As I sit here with my responsible thermostat setting, freezing my clenched ass off, I find myself bellowing the lines of this wonderful poem with increasing marcato emphasis to show my extreme dissatisfaction with snow and cold."— Stephen Bellamy

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