Review a Virgogray Press Title

Good evening. Virgogray Press is looking for writers interested in reviewing Virgogray Press titles. Though there are several titles to choose from, and several titles are long out-of-print, there is still a number we are interested in having peer-reviewed. We may publish your review on the website, or in other Virgogray Publications or promotions. If so, we will send a copy of the book reviewed upon publication. If you are interested in writing a review of a Virgogray Press title e-mail, me at michael.aaron.casares(at)gmail(dot)com. Please include a brief bio and a physical mailing address to expedite the mailing process. Below is a list of titles available for review:

Vegas Implosions by Chris D’Errico
NO FEAR by Doctori Sadisco
Sinister Splashplay by David S. Pointer
In the Broken Things by Gillian Prew
Elektra’s Mouth by Suiz Kaplan Olmsted
Elephants I Didn’t Ride by Peter Marti
By the Banks of the Ajoy, Jaideb Vanishes into the Blue by Subhankar Das
You Are Not a Normal Human Being by Justin Blackburn

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Review: Chris D’Errico’s “Vegas Implosions” by Michelle Gaddes

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Poetry Book Review
Vegas Implosions & Exterminator Chronicles

By Chris D’Errico

‘One day I will switch sides and help the
insects defeat the humans’
-Chris D’Errico, Black Flag.

Vegas Implosions is an intensely-woven mapping of a post-modern landscape, written by a disgruntled slayer-becoming in the shadows. Chris D’Errico, clearly a wonderful rhizomatic love-child of Franz Kafka, Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, begins a journey with grounded, loquacious, intricate observations and raw, reactionary prose-style poetry. D’Errico’s quest-driven compilation commences within a colourful, carnivalesque landscape; that which we know and love as – Las Vegas.

D’Errico’s narrator, like a multi-headed phoenix, rises from his constructed disillusioned, desert dreamscape, seditious and sore. He partitions his book by turning the poetry autobiographical, in the first-person perspective. This section is titled, ‘Exterminator Chronicles.’ D’Errico journeys from the physical landscape, to the personal landscape and finally concludes with his ideal of fantasy-scape, which sees his narrator holidaying in Hawaii, where, contrastingly, the vermin and insects he exterminates daily now live in serene unison with him.

Anything but obsequious (!), D’Errico’s work reflects an ambiguous and torn position in his world. The subversive poem, ‘Black Flag’ sees the narrator tired of his love-less, soulless existence and he imagines a new plateau where he ‘switches sides.’ Rather than ‘bringing home the bacon,’ as he claims, he entertains the idea of a different warfare. This may be read as a new Travis Bickle waiting in the surreal throes or he could be advocating a pro-environmental message too. Thus, the diversity of meaning in D’Errico’s pieces allows the reader to indulge in a rollercoaster journey of entertainment, apprehension and uncertainty.

D’Errico’s piece, ‘Exterminator takes a vacation’ offers audiences glimmers of hope. From the depths of self-annihilation, accusatory and destructive paradigms does he escape (for the moment) the cycle of reality’s tedium. The ‘voice’ in this piece transforms, like Kafka’s insect revelation; instead of death, rebirth is shown through use of language that transforms into the beautifully aesthetic and – spiritual. The South-Pacific trade winds have doused away the narrow mindedness and degradation that he perceived his home to be constructed of. His ‘take-home message,’ it seems, is that we are empowered to change and create the environments we desire to inhabit – and even if it is only via the vehicle of fantasy. Nonetheless, the psyche is able to be distracted, somewhat. Vegas Implosions is a subversive, manic conversation – emblematic of humanity’s continual, incessant, driving drudgery that plagues the modern world. It is sweat and loathing, desire and despising. Vegas Implosions is the every-day-man’s inner monologues screaming silently in queues and homes, everywhere.

D’Errico is a talented poet with a sharp, sardonic, journalist’s eye of his pocket of the world. He exhibits a mindfulness and awareness that understands part of the human condition which is duende-driven and prone to fatal implosion at any given time of day. Vegas Implosions is not just free verse, it is cheap-as-casino-chips verse and yes I would purchase this book if I was browsing in my lunch-hour for entertaining gratification. It may be read randomly or cover-to-cover. Here D’Errico offers diversity and autonomy for his readers to be the navigators of text.

While, perhaps not every reader’s ideal book of poetry, Vegas Implosions offers a ripped, psychedelic sketch of a landscape which has to be seen to be comprehended. Even then, one has to pinch themselves to know they are alive. However, D’Errico asks all the probing questions; indeed ‘why are all these people dying in bad shoes?’ When in fact we know the answer, as does D’Errico, all we need to do is kick them off! And then the world will show its passing, cold shoulder once more, but shoeless, we will be free.

*

Michelle Gaddes is a writer from southern NSW, Australia. Her poetry compilation, Pariah is available from Ginninderra Press, Port Adelaide, Australia, and her forth coming, Aurora Borealisfrom the same publisher. Michelle is currently editing her third manuscript and she teaches Regional & Environmental histories at the University of Wollongong, NSW. Michelle completed her M.A in 2011 with Deakin University (Writing & Literatures), Victoria, and her research interests are broad. She is interested in the contemporary representation of landscapes together with rhizomatic theories and post-colonial texts. Michelle has been published in the UK, Australia and North America via various print and electronic media; Danse Macabre, Gloom Cupboard, Carcinogenic Poetry, The Canberra Times, The Bemboka Times, Forward Poetry, Zygote in my Coffee, Scorpion Poetry, Rufous Salon etc.

“By the Banks of the Ajoy…” Reviewed by Federica Nightingale

The last poetry collection by Subhankar Das, “By the Banks of the Ajoy, Jaideb Vanishes into
the Blue”, is a true jump into a world of images and stunning views of ordinary life. Edited by
Virgogray Press, the book is printed bilingual, in English and Bangla. The title poem of the book
alludes to authors Henry Miller and Henry Denanant while mingling with echoes of Bangla lore of
the mythical poet Jaideb who lived by the river Ajoy. The poet’s poetic language and voice — a mix
of traditions — with the peculiar match of bilinguism, give the reader an enlightened view on the
puzzle of existence, as well as the surreal effect of transforming every verse into a necessary path
which leads to the Truth. Natural elements are the stones on which the poet inscribes his visions, by
drawing a straight line that separates appearances from substance. Voices from the past, memories,
and the blues often populate the lengthy free verse, telling us short stories of love and melancholy,
while a disenchanted eye of resignation keeps looking forward toward success. Subhankar Das’
poetic world is strictly cynical, apparently hopeless; beauty is a mere misunderstanding, a conflict
turned into slapstick comedy. Pervading the whole book is a pessimistic vein in which life and
death alternate between despair and nothingness, causing a loss of trust in love, which could be
the only anchor. The long prose poem that is the collection’s title piece can be considered to be the
manifestation of the author’s exploration of life’s mysteries, black holes, and unsolved responses,
his search for a way to human nature and nature’s signs. A powerful visionary grasps at a gleam of
hope. Without doubt, this is a worthwhile and inspiring read.

“That pretty fish in my aquarium who loved me so dearly is gone

today. Why do they all go? Where do they go? There is a staying

in every going away. All the rocks are but mad. They have lost

their stoniness in these magical lights, unknowingly, that’s why

instead of the heart there plays a light. She’s not here but I see

her sitting on a chair every day with her tresses flowing,

thinking unmindful.”

(from the poem By the Banks of Ajoy, Jaideb Vanishes into the Blue)


Federica Nightingale is a poet, writer and translator. She is Editor in Chief of  Project Collage (Errant Editions Small Digital Publisher).