Rob Plath is a writing steamroller fuelled by vodka, whisky, and vitriol. He chugs cigarette smoke and verse into an already crowded atmosphere of hard-edged, but mostly hackneyed writing. I wish this were hyperbole, but it’s not. His new collection, Bellyful of Anarchy, is a monster. Its over 250 pages literally weighing a ton of angst, reflection, and some dark-ass imagery of a most honestly poetic kind. One of the best things about Rob’s writing, and there are many, is that it’s real. I’ve never felt like I was being sucked into a shadowy morass of metaphor or allusion. His poems are concrete and this is a good thing. Reading one of them is like taking a shot at the local dive, you can hear the blather, the clatter, the fug, the cheap lipstick, it’s all-good.
But that is also part of the problem. It’s a lot to read and the theme is unwaveringly consistent. Down and out, a broken past, too many scars to count. There is something of redemption in there, somewhere, I know it, but good luck finding it.
Aside from the constant slide into a bathtub of blood and razor blades, this collection is one of the best ones out there today. It’s not cheap in any sense of the word. At $25 it’s a lot, but, it’s worth it. Why? Because, it is a hard kick in the nuts to a paradigm of poetry that has little-to-no guts and I applaud its necessary audacity. This book proves that there is beauty in repulsion and pulchritude in the plainly rude.
This is the kind of book I want to literally hit people with and scream, “Here, suck on this for a while and when your head stops spinning, tell me you’re not moved to look at poetry in a different light.” It’s a great book, because it is a catalyst, it will hopefully move people to use poetry as a mirror, a reality check, a reflection of what we are past the façade and flesh. Now, read it and tell me if you find hope in it. Then again, who the hell needs hope?
Opinion: Good Read
Opinion: Good Read
-reviewed by GJ