Cut-up Apologetic by Jamie Sharpe is his second published collection of poetry. Sharpe’s writing and art have appeared in magazines throughout Canada and the U.S., and he is editor of the Associative Press, a literary and arts journal. He recently moved to the Yukon, where he is working on an MFA through the University of British Columbia’s optional residency program.
Poetry can be difficult to review, especially very good poetry. The shorter the review, the better the collection rates in my reviews. We spend our lives in Plato’s Cave Allegory. We see things and describe what we see in a fairly ordinary words. Occasionally, someone will add colorful language and it will become great prose. A few people manage to escape the cave and see more than the shadows on the wall and see the original, perfect items and describe them. These are the poets. For the rest of us, we read and try to understand something that is like an extra dimension. We might understand it but if asked to explain it back we are at a loss. It must be experienced, not explained.
Sharpe does capture some of this, but most of the work captures a contemporary setting and sometimes sarcasm. UBERSWEET(tm) looks at what we eat. In the poem “Mutable,” Borges’ modifying the desert may be our life’s work. “Greensborough” lets the reader in on a secret in lowering the asking price of a house. Perhaps my favorite poem was “Internal Affairs.” It is a lesson in the universal currency and the universal currency of impotency.
Sharpe’s writing is not high art. It is a look at our society and individuals, and individuals fears and dreams and the irrational — is the Hubble telescope watching me when I shower? “The Oscar Myer Process” is a clever and contemptuous. “Foreign Exchange” takes the reader into the bizarre. Sharpe may not have made it out of the cave, but he certainly sees things at a different angle than most. Cut-up Apologetic is a twisted look at today’s world, very enjoyable and recommended.