Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"ANTIEPITHALAMIA & Other Poems of Regret and Resentment" by John Tottenham

Marriage is not a splendid form of love for poet John Tottenham. It is sort of a combination of hell and a bad night out. Or maybe the one and the other are the same. Nevertheless "Antiepithalamia" is a collection of bite sized poems that gives the reader a very humorous ride into the outskirts of an imagined state of mind where the need is too much of a bother. The flip side of Pablo Neruda's love poetry, Tottenham serves as the dark prince or adviser to those who find the taste of love... a slight disappointment. That feeling is well documented and well-said through Tottenham's skill with the right turn of a phrase.

Reading this beautifully designed book (like all the other editions by the publisher Penny-Ante) is sort of like the Bonnie & Clyde of paper meets poet. The book is beautiful to hold and look at, but it contains the poison of its poetry - and its the poison that adds the aftertaste of romantic failure done in a very seductive heady manner. Once can say "Antihistamine" is an anti-valentine classic, but I see it as the essential book for that holiday and times. The Baudelaire of Los Angeles tasting the bitter yet desirable fruit that is past its prime - yet the aspects of love is hanging on a desired tree. it is how one eats the fruit, that is the art of it all.

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