Coming WorldGone World: The Abomunauts Are Coming to Piss on Your Lawn
by Paul Corman-Roberts
GOT MR. CORMAN-ROBERTS' book COMING WORLDGONE WORLD Poems iN The Dialectic of Abomunism (1993 – 2006) (The Abomunauts Are Coming To Piss On Your Lawn)
in the mail. It’s a standard paperback, a hundred and sixteen pages long, with the kind of loving attention to aesthetic detail that most authors fantasize about. This book is meant to be touched. Walking by it in the bookstore without picking it up would be a virtual impossibility. Having said that, the title is something of a heavy weight, so I will be referring to the book in the shortened form for the purposes of this review.
I want to write for Howling Dog Press.
If Mr. Corman-Roberts’ collection of poetry, Coming WorldGone World
is any indication, Howling Dog Press really loves its authors. This book featured cover art, a cover abstract and endsheet art, frontispiece art and an author’s photograph, with four different artists contributing. It really is a gorgeous book.
If his endsheet bio is to be believed, Mr. Corman-Roberts has the kind of education and poetic chops to make us lesser mortals tremble.
If his endsheet bio is to be believed, Mr. Corman-Roberts has the kind of education and poetic chops to make us lesser mortals tremble. There is good evidence of this in the book as his poems are clean, tightly controlled, and full of the kind of effects that a self-taught poet like me couldn’t even begin to effectively manage. This comes as both a plus and a minus in my opinion.
As expressed in the title, this collection is a “Dialectic of Abomunism”; a poetic movement, if it can be called that, spawned by the Beat Gods of the fifties and sixties.
Let me be perfectly frank. Prior to getting this book in the mail I had never heard Charlie Parker, Bob Kaufman, Abomunism or Mr. Corman-Roberts. I spent some time in research, trying to get a handle on these topics, as this collection assumes you have that experience and knowledge. My first read through was a bit like trying to learn Mandarin. My second read through, after my research, was a little clearer, but Mr. Corman-Roberts delves so deeply into the aesthetic of Abomunism that by my third read through I was thinking of this collection more in terms of being a holy book than a series of poems.
This is heavy, intellectual stuff; not for the timid or the faint of heart. Mr. Corman-Roberts takes you on a poetic journey into the minds of people who wanted to change the world in base and dramatic ways, forty-some-odd years ago. It can be a bit pedantic at times, and Mr. Corman-Roberts can also be a tad bit preachy. There is a sense of regret bleeding through the words. Mr. Corman-Roberts wanted to see this brave, new world, and he missed it by thiiiiiiiiiis much.
There’s a lot of name-dropping and the kind of heavy poetry guys with awesome educations write. It’s slow going and you really need to be dedicated to the cause to “get it”. I was tempted to color the entire collection as being a self-absorbed exploration of a topic no-one else cared about until I got to This Is Punk Rock Hell! and The Serv-Well. These two poems step far enough away from the dense pudding of Abomunism to let us see a glimpse of the poet. This Is Punk Rock Hell! tells the story of a visit to a festival. We see so much of Mr. Corman-Roberts in this poem that it almost seems to read like an unintentional eulogy or an auto-biography. Frankly, I loved it. The Serv-Well is more of a “day in the life” poem but it does the same thing: drawing the sheet back to show us the pink human hiding behind the words.
Mr. Corman-Roberts can write. There is no question. But this collection, Mr. Corman-Roberts’ first, is the kind of heavy reading that ends up being more of an assignation than something you’d pick up and stroll through. I don’t know that it gets better with more education, but doing one’s homework on the subjects inside definitely helps.
Overall, I’d recommend this book if you wanted to see the way it’s done after you get letters like MA/MFA in the air above your head; the way ninja-level poets write. There’s a lot to learn here, but only if you’re ready for it.