to the Second,
Allen Itz is a familiar voice on the internet, published by
the best of ezines (though oddly enough not by this editor, an oversight
that will be corrected soon). The best of his poetry takes its cue from the
Texas landscape where Allen lives as in
clear sky, bright sun
the last north wind of the season
pushing hard against me as I drive south
(from “in the last days of March in South Texas”)
or simple observations from his days
pleasant looking woman
at the grocery checkout,
suburban type, blue pantsuit,
middle aged, hair a little gray
(from “the woman at the checkout”)
but can be edgy in “the cruelty of cats at play” (here in its
her black smile
cut like a dagger through the dark
slicing cleanly to the heart
"I have something to tell you,”
and experimental as in ‘sunflowers in flight” and a number of
other poems I will not try to duplicate, their layouts too complicated to
even cut and paste.
He is not afraid to be political
anti-war poems are easy,
since, in our hearts,
we all know that the logic of war
that says I will kill strangers
until a stranger kills me
(from “anti-war poems are easy’)
and beyond controversial
I was seeing this preacher fella on tv the other day
and he was saying that God don’t like men fucking men
(from “what God don’t like”)
Regardless of where Allen finds his poetry, it is almost
always interesting and is well worth your time.
The volume we are considering is more than Allen’s poetry.
It is a project that blends the poems with art by Vincent Martinez of San
Antonio and Victoria, Texas; and a cd, The Ray-Guhn Show Choir, “chimeras,
ideals, errors!”. The recording was produced by Allen’s son,
Does the project work?
Generally, yes. The book is large, 154 pages, about 100
poems. Among them are interspersed with almost as many
paintings – modern portraiture and abstracts. The art compliments Allen’s
poems, though some of the portraits are from too much of the scribble or
finger paint school.
The CD is largely improvised jazz, with the final 6 cuts
really one long piece. The music is strong – at times harsh, unrelenting;
at times gentle; at times, from the edge; always interesting
and lively. Cut 7 is especially lively and interesting - in other words,
much like Allen’s poetry.
The collection, book and CD, ordered directly from Allen at
firstname.lastname@example.org is $20, a
bargain for both. (And $35 in stores.)
Support your local poet and give Allen’s poems and Chris’s
band a try.