Poetry Review — Trebuchet: Poems

Trebuchet by Danniel Schoonebeek

Trebuchet: Poems by Danniel Schoonebeek is the poet’s second collection of poetry. Schoonebeek is the author of American Barricade. In 2015 he was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry, Kenyon Review, and Tin House.

There are days when I prove to myself without a shadow of a doubt that my education is in political science and not poetry. I glanced at Trebuchet when I first received it and realized that it was going to be a complex read. Two years ago I received Eric Linsker’s La Far and it took me a year to get through it. A rewarding year, nonetheless. Trebuchet is due out in November and my early start began this Friday, just to make sure I finished on time. The writing is complex and thoughts may not always seem complete or maybe more accurately a bit disjointed. I, however, could not put this book down until I finished.

This is a collection where the introduction actually drags you in. I may be dating myself, but it would be like seeing the trailer for “Mulholland Drive,” getting psyched by it, seeing the movie and walking out saying that was quite a trip…but to where. Trebuchet is like a lost weekend in print format.

Schoonebeek warns the reader that this book will probably get the reader on a government watch list. He also suggests “trebucheting” the book into the White House. A little physics lesson would reveal that Les Miserables might be a better choice considering the number of pages and F=m*a. The introduction sets the hook and is the most plain-spoken part of the collection. Not that that is a bad thing.

The poems cover a wide range of subjects violence, poverty, fascism, and censorship. The structure on each page is also interesting. “.Gif” fills the page end to end like a NASA stream of 1s and 0s that build a remarkable image. “Glasnost” repeats the troublesome problem of how to get rid of a body. “Laguardia” consists of a few words in each line and tells in part the story of a girl who survived two years as an erotic dancer in an absinthe bar. It also contains references of back streets and a deathtrap that triggered Bruce Springsteen in my mind. The poem ” Poem with a Gun to Its Head” is written in compact newspaper columns and include mention of a Marine platoon sergeant.

While this collection remained elaborate in its style it did take me on quite a ride. Much like my earlier reference to “Mulholland Drive” this collection left me exhilarated, stimulated, but scratching my head. It’s the most amazing thing that you cannot describe. An adventure in experimental poetry.

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