RICHARD LOPEZ Reviews
66 galaxie by m loncar
(Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference/Middlebury College Press, 1998)
Several years ago I checked out a poetry anthology at the city library published either in the late ‘90s or early 2000s. I don’t remember the anthology very well but for one name, m loncar. I remembered loncar being my kind of poet, lowercase, vernacular, a little seedy in subject matter. But when I checked online for more of loncar’s poetry I found a few references to this book and a couple of poems but little else.
It took some years but I ordered his first collection. I was not disappointed. The title refers to a kind of U.S. made car. Many of the poems refer or are about traveling the back roads of America. Route 66 imagery abounds.
besides spilling the better half, as well as the steamier half,
of mcdonald’s best try at a cup of coffee on my crotch,
the ride out of ohio passed without incident.
Three jagged lines of Americana that are like the punch line to a stand up’s comedy. The humor reflects the humility of its speaker and the roiled messiness of the state embroidered in the poem’s title. I suspect the speaker could spill a cup of coffee on his crotch in any state of the union it just happened to be that he burned his crotch during his travels in Ohio.
Okay, but there is more such as roommates raiding a neighbor’s mailbox and finding the VHS tapes they filched contain some sick and ‘evil porn’. Repulsed by their find they still can’t stop watching the tapes. Or so I surmise from the poem ‘sickos’.
The poems range like the landscape and roads the speakers travel. This is a poetry written by a younger man. He’s rather boastful but with his sense of humor the lines fly off the page. Take for example this section from ‘the king of the refrigerator poems’.
narcissistic 90’s beatnik
pit barbecue peroghi lover and kentucky
(don’t make me
show you my
g r e scores)
(let’s not stop me when i’m on a roll)
This is a list of a poet who is just beginning to explore his powers. I have no idea who, or where, m loncar is. Nevertheless, this is a fantastic collection of poems that would make a great gift for readers who claim a dislike of poetry. The comedy and the grit of the writing will make even the most jaded reader shiver with pleasure.
I hope m loncar is out there and writing his vernacular poetry. The publishing landscape has changed since the 20th century. Gone is viable commercial poetry publication. Good riddance, I say. Really, I say that because I think m loncar would do well publishing his own books via electronic or print-on-demand publishing.
But that is not my call. Instead I look forward to reading more poems by m loncar however decides to publish them.
richard lopez reads writes and loves in northern california. his last book was a split chap with jonathan hayes, hallucinating california. his next book might be called pretty in pink.