Thursday, August 30, 2012

Publications - Books - Schizophrenia Poetry by M. Stefan Strozier

Publications - Books - Schizophrenia Poetry by M. Stefan Strozier:

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Schizophrenia Poetry
M. Stefan Strozier
World Audience Inc
ISBN: 978-1-934209-07-3
Reviewed by Lee Gooden
TCM Reviews

Reading M. Stefan Strozier's book of poems, Schizophrenia Poetry, one knows immediately that he is a playwright. Some contemporary poets write lines that are sing song and explore ground already covered by Ogden Nash with rhyme schemes and tempos that seemed forced and badly contrived Hip Hop or Dr. Seuss. Strozier doesn't care so much about rhyme as he does about rhythm and content. His poetry is lyrical, but he doesn't get caught up in the fallacy that song lyrics make good poetry or vice versa. Instead, his approach is like the dialogue of a Mamet play, loaded with syncopation and substance. The majority of the poems in Strozier's book are carved from characterization rather than imagery. For example, in his poem, The Sheriff, the character Kid Mila is Strozier's alter-ego. Written in the genre of the western, Kid Mila is a cowboy poet. Strozier writes, "Well/Kid Mila finished his drink/And rode out to camp/Got himself a gal/By the name of Persephone/A few drinking buddies/A second-hand computer..."

Later, after Kid Mila loses everything in his life, his horse, mules and woman is stolen, and more importantly his dog is shot and killed, he announces to the town crier that he needs to leave town. Strozier writes,"...It's a sad town aint got no poets, brother./It's a sad town./But, the world's done gone global,/and I don't need to hang around here anymore/to perfect my craft; or, for much of anything,/for that matter..."

Strozier seems to follow the Italian director Fedrico Fellini's motto, "Happy endings are immoral," when it comes to his poetry. He understands that life goes on and on regardless of whether we're ready or want to participate or not. He exposes life's dark underside and why we seem fearful and anxious about the mundane and everyday. Without help and understanding schizophrenia is a debilitating illness. Strozier's writing shows as that from our dealings with the ethical and moral ambiguity of today's society that maybe we all need to be a little insane to cope. That is why the poems in his collection Schizophrenia Poetry seem so familiar and close to home. He holds a mirror up to the abyss and in the refection we realize the abyss is us.

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