Stride Magazine - www.stridemagazine.co.uk
RIFF ON SIX, New and Selected Poems by James Reiss, 165pp, £9.95, $13.95, Salt Publishing, PO Box 397, Great Wilbraham, Cambridge CB1 5JX, UK.
is a not particularly indignant (for an American) poem on the destruction
of the World Trade Centre, and several poems highly critical of the American
toppling of the regime in Iraq. Nothing in this gives us any really memorable
though there is strong wit in the last line of the sarcastic, anti Donald
Runsfeld poem, ‘Gin Rummy’: ‘You’re everybody’s image of the nice / Guy who’s
no chump, no wimp like Jimmy Carter. / If God is smart, by golly, Don, you’re
smarter!’ And the equally sarcastic-to-satirical poem on the U.S. president’s
spokesman Ari Flischer is good; but elsewhere in several places the poet’s
anger leads to indelicacy, viz, ‘While stirring up his bloody mush / He shits
but knows just how to flush’, or ‘This means we shit on them before they shit
/ On us. It doesn’t take a lot of wit...’ No, it doesn’t to write like that.
However, the parodies (again all concerned with the current state of affairs
Iraq) of famous carols, hymns and songs are first rate.