Alan Catlin has released three new collections of poetry recently – Memories, Sunshine Superman, and The Road to Perdition.
These poems were written after reading Bernadette Mayer’s multi-media book Memory as well as an assortment of her journals and short stories. Memories Too is a work in progress that extends from what began as a whimsical effort, a shameless, derivational, homage to Bernadette’s work, and careened downhill (or is it launched into outer space) all on its own. I guess that’s what happens when your primary method of composition is free associations on whatever comes to mind during the writing of the poems. While they may appear to be random and “first thought, best thought” pieces, they have been revised and edited for a kind of clarity. Everything relates to something else.
The received wisdom has been: if you remember the 60’s you weren’t there. The poet was there and these poems show what it was like: often cold, depressing, fraught, political but with some great music and lots of mind-altering substances. Looking back the poet is not so much amazed by what went on but that anyone survived.
The Road to Perdition
There is a rhythm and a cadence to Alan Catlin’s writing that is best experienced when read out loud. His writing has a depth to it that had me reviewing each poem two or three times with each reading revealing another layer of meaning and a greater understanding of the journey that the piece is taking. The book is divided into three segments – American History X, The Road To Perdition, and Never Let Me Go – that function on their own while still coming together to form single, cohesive whole. The occasional use of quotes from literature and pop culture to introduce poems gives the writing a context and a space in which to exist. The Road To Perdition is a great read and well worth spending some extra time to absorb. I will be reading it again and again after that.
– Dan Holt, poet, songwriter, recording artist and the author of the forthcoming collection, “Blank Canvas On Bloody Pavement.”
Alan Catlin has published in six decades. He had well over sixty chapbooks and full-length books to his credit including the Slipstream Chapbook Award-winning Blue Velvet in 2017, two from Night Ballet Press, Hollyweird and Beautiful Mutants, and full length books Wild Beauty and American Odyssey from Future Cycle Press, as well as, Last Man Standing from Lummox Press. He is the poetry and reviews editor of misfit magazine online.