Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Scott Bryson reviews Neil Flowers' TAXICAB VOICE (2016) in Broken Pencil

Scott Bryson was good enough to provide the first review of Neil Flowers' TAXICAB VOICE (2016) in Broken Pencil. Thanks so much! You can see the original review here.
Taxicab Voice Chapbook, Neil Flowers, 12 pgs, above/ground press,, $5 
 The 5.5 x 8.5 inch format favoured by above/ground press was waived for this collection; Taxicab Voice is a comparably enormous 8.5 by 11. It was presumably the author’s preference, and while it could be owing to the length of a couple of these poems, Neil Flowers may also have been looking to make this resemble a song book. Most of this writing involve music, in one form or another, and it’s all dedicated to Bill Hawkins, a recently-deceased Canadian folk musician and poet.
Much of Taxicab Voice speaks from the perspective of Hawkins, and it’s possible that it’s entirely about him — a narration of the about-town and on-the-road life of a Canadian bard. If the two men weren’t friends, they were at least acquaintances — both inhabited the Ottawa poetry scene of the early ’70s, and Flowers included Hawkins’ writing in an anthology in 1973.

There’s a particular term that appears repeatedly throughout this collection, loosely tying its poems together: “starfuckers” (in multiple forms). In one instance, it refers to groupies, as seen from Hawkins’ perspective: the “Women with rainbows for eyes.” Later, the label is assigned to someone who picks up Hawkins after his car breaks down: “Who comes to your rescue? / Creeley. / Star Fucker!” (referencing poet Robert Creeley). Flowers’ carefree use of such language paints an amusing image of that fulsome circle of artists.

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