Sunday, November 29, 2015



PASSION by Larry Kearney
(Transmission Press, San Francisco, 2006)

Wow. This was a lovely.  It is so finely done, which is to say: from a finely-attuned observing eye emanated this poem—this stroll—through a city and personal history, and it is just brimming with light, lucidity, intelligence and warmth.  It begins

                                                                out the front door morning turning

left the fog street ends at green


                                                       you must have been a beautiful baby

singing moves the lips the jazz

With those first five lines so much already has occurred with the quickening beginning immediately both in terms of the narrative “out the front door…” and that the line begins in the middle of the page (rather than flush left) as if the poem’s persona was eager to begin the living beyond the front door.

Then there’s the single-word line “hill” that, in reading, makes one pause—thereby making the receptive reader feel/sense the hill and not just read the word—as one has paused, too, at the top of hills and other peaks to catch one’s breath or take in the view…

… and the noted tune of course introduces yet another dimension of song, even as the fifth line intelligently notes “jazz” which, too, may be an adjective for the form of the lines so far—

all so intelligently made!  And the chap-length poem doesn’t disappoint as it moves on, with each passage contributing another layer to defining its title: Passion.  Here are two sample pages; click on the images to enlarge as the experience they present is ravishing:

The poem is in seven sections and what is also an unexpected but intelligent choice by the poet was to switch, in the seventh section, to more of the prose paragraph in form.  There is a welcome density here, as if manifesting what’s in the second paragraph in the image below: “That happened there and this happened here. Between is flesh…”

The poem (of course) has a lot of words.  So much words.  But one gets a sense of some deep thinking, rather, laborious thinking before the poet puts a word on the page as the poem offers a sense of having been created from some very intense concentration.  That’s why the poem, in turn, radiates.  It ends like this, with something glittering beyond its maker’s hands, also fittingly beaming:


Eileen Tabios does not let her books be reviewed by Galatea Resurrects because she's its editor (the exception would be books that focus on other poets as well).  She is pleased, though, to point you elsewhere to recent reviews of her work.  I FORGOT LIGHT BURNS received a review by Zvi A. Sesling at Boston Area Small Press & Poetry Scene; by Amazon Hall of Fame reviewer Grady Harp over HERE; and by Allen Bramhall in Tributary.  Her experimental biography AGAINST MISANTHROPY: A LIFE IN POETRY received a review by Tom Hibbard in The Halo-Halo Review, Allen Bramhall in Mandala Web and Chris Mansel in The Daily Art Source. SUN STIGMATA also received a review by Edric Mesmer at Yellow Field.  Recent releases are the e-chap DUENDE IN THE ALLEYS as well as INVENT(ST)ORY which is her second “Selected Poems" project; while her first Selected THE THORN ROSARY was focused on the prose poem form, INVEN(ST)ORY focuses on the list or catalog poem form.  A key poem in INVENT(ST)ORY was reviewed by John Bloomberg-Rissman in The Halo-Halo Review, and the book itself was reviewed by Chris Mansel in The Daily Art Source and Allen Bramhall in Mandala Web.  More information at 


  1. Just stumbled on your review. Many thanks.


    1. Larry Kearney
      In 1974 on Birch in Bolinas you gave me a copy of Galilee Hitchhiker & Please Plant This Book. I would like to get in touch Chris Holmes croh46 at gmail dot com