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Snapshots of the Perishing World Apr 30, 2007
Chad Prevost's book "Snapshots of the Perishing World" explores the deepest recesses of the psyche and emerges to discover a glint of meaning in the external environment. He focuses lyrical attention on the moment when awareness embraces understanding and then disrupts its discourse to reflect on life's uncertainties. He uses clear, concise diction that evokes heightened speculation on topics related to the metaphysical and the realistic. The first line of his poem "What the Lake Knows" begins with such graceful beckoning; "So, this is what it's like when love dissolves," he says, and as the lines are spoken, the line invites the reader to dissolve onto the page. The poet's language is simple in its diction and syntax as he writes to encompass a controlled style that consists of four-line stanzas. His language is powerful, and nurtures the tone of the poem, as he strives to evoke deep yearning; "you lay your head/ against the damp soil wishing/ for the lives of things bodiless/ & simple." He carefully places line-breaks to effectively maintain consistency in every stanza without creating extraneous exaggeration. The first three stanzas contain a one-line repetitive declaration that forces the story to evolve; "So, this is what it's like" he says, before he alters the poem's meditative tone to visual obscenity; "the way she emptied the contents/ of her stomach - with such technique/ into the commode..." (19). The poem reengages spiritual fantasy and bitter resentment as the narrative comes to a close; "Only now are you/ ready to dissolve into the scumbled/ clouds, to let the thunder roil &/ blow you like a fist into the lake" (20). The seemingly frustrated, yet remarkably romantic, tone of the poem almost dissolves literally onto the lines of his following poem entitled "Chaos Theory." His clunky stanzas are presentably chaotic, but his lines speak of earnest passion; "we stared at the stars for hours," he says, "wondering if God would call us/ to something as mysterious as our fathers." In the second stanza he returns from metaphysical contemplation to smashing skateboards onto the windshield of an RX-7. Prevost juxtaposes visionary ambition and realism with exceptional ability; he beholds the vision of the night sky "through the open windshield/ into the washed-out stars" (21). His vision of the cosmos dissolves in his poem "A Frequency for Wherever You Are" as he explains "you're feet are planted on a floor/ that was once a forest floor" (25). He captures the essence of the natural environment while contemplating "in this very moment" but although the landscape provides a serene atmosphere, he is unable to escape the inevitable chaos of modernism; the cars are heard hissing in the rain. He focuses lyrical attention on the pervading amenities that have devastated the environment, and intertwines the frequency of the transistor radio with the frequency of the spirits that can be heard if one is silent enough. His attention to "the moment" continues in his poem "The Still Sad Music." He contemplates the "timelessness of music" and focuses meditative attention on the past and the present; "the music sink[s] into the pores of your unconscious life/ waking into the future." He has brought the "frequency" out of "the spirits" and into the spirit of the self; "[m]aybe those radios/ are too small for your now, a single transistor radio/ warble[s] a flapper's favorite...," and then he interrupts his discourse to remember the "timeliness" of the experience, "[b]ut the music stopped," he says, "& now it remains with those memories/ & that time" (75). His poems focus lyrical attention on a diverse range of topics relating to metaphysical surrealism and the reality of the moment. He writes with exceptional quality and evokes sympathy for nature as well as the chaotic.