Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Joel William Vaughan reviews Michael Sikkema’s Here on Huron (2019) in Broken Pencil #88

Joel William Vaughan was good enough to provide the first review of Michael Sikkema’s Here on Huron (2019) over at Broken Pencil. Thanks so much!
The poet’s bio describes an interest in “feral alphabets, bird-mushroom confluences, tree music, and the function of poetry for the human microbiome.” I can’t find any of these topics in Here on Huron, really, but the description is at least a warning: this chapbook is wacky.
            Visual poems blend into each other, dissolve off the page. More ASCII art than verse, Michael Sikkema still tries to wrangle his word-images into form and narrative. “Split screen:” reads one untitled poem, “cloned secret hero views / secret hero through rifle scope, secret / hero stares at their own hands then a gutpile.” He closes: “gutpile zoom: tiny society evolving rapidly / writing, ag, cities, early stages of flight.” Making heads or tails of the revenge plot between “secret hero” and “cloned secret hero” is a fool’s errand. As Sikkema assures us in his “chorus,” “everything / is already / something else.” It’s as if he’s translated a damaged VHS into letters and punctuation. Some of the words make it through – less of the plot – so the dance becomes an incomplete, but steady corruption. An interesting read.

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