Review: ‘Gross Ardor’, by Bill Rasmovicz

Gross ArdorGross Ardor by Bill Rasmovicz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The speaker of Bill Rasmovicz’s Gross Ardor is a special breed of curator, reaching gracefully yet frenetically into his own microculture of what Franz Wright once called three pounds of haunted meat, and haunted feels like an appropriate word. There’s a momentum throughout that feels like a poltergeist slowly tearing itself apart but gathering steam. The familiar but slightly grainy, through-a-mirror-dimly world of this book is always raining and all too aware that the ‘meat chaos’ of ourselves is only one layer in the future fossil record. I keep thinking the cover is remarkably apt, the entire collection seeming bone-hard in the most delicate way possible, fragile with madness but cut with an almost drug-induced focus and precision. This culture warrior commits seppuku and reflects solemnly on not only his own mortality but the concrete yet ungraspable concept of a lifespan.

Every poem is an endeavor of introspection, the speaker who wears his heart on his rust belt achieving the masterful effect of affecting an unconscious touch to every interstitial image and head-drowning associative leap. The result is earnest, sadly funny, confident and searching, the haunted meat put the warned-against one time too many through the grinder. In an already unbelievably strong catalog from the young 42 Miles Press, a brilliant offering of a book.

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