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Book Review: Glimpses

Written by Neila Mezynski
Scrambler Books, 2011
ISBN 9780578081410

GlimpsesNeila Mezynski’s recent book, Glimpses, pre-dates her chapbook Yellow Fringe Dress (which I reviewed last month).  It was released in 2011 by Scrambler Books, so its publication date isn’t exactly ancient, but the book itself contains a blend of old and new work from this prolific poet.Yellow Fringe Dress, by contrast, contains more new material, and its ebb is collective in nature.  Glimpses is a hodgepodge of different selections—but this isn’t a major problem throughout most of the book.  Mezynski told me that the older pieces were left in because they are “sincere work, which seems to make a difference.”  She added “[the poems] are my kids”—a sentiment that most writers can appreciate.  Still, in some cases the old and new clash—there are two distinct tones running through this book, and they don’t always gel.

So, when it is gelling, what does Glimpses do as a collection?  It doesn’t have the same extended narrative arc as Mezynski’s newest book, but it approaches the thin (or perhaps thick) line between poetry and prose with Mezynski’s usual prowess.  This collection seeks to infuse poetics into fragmentary, micro-fictions.  It is a hybrid piece from a poet who thrives in this arena.  Unlike some of her other works, this book contains almost no deliberate structure.  It represents prose poetry in its true form—playing with syntax and diction within the confines of a paragraphed structure.  It’s an interesting experiment that pays off through the breadth of Glimpses.

Though Glimoses doesn’t have the unified arc that I enjoyed in Yellow Fringe Dress, it doesn’t need it most of the time.  This book achieves what it sets out to do.  It provides a good overview of Mezynski’s style, and it offers a series of individualized poems that let the reader pick up this book for a lengthy read or a single-page exploration.  There are minimalistic forays into microcosmic characters—like the allegorical poem “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Stay.”  And there are lengthier narratives that appeal to the fiction-lovers among us—like “The St. Francis,” a story detailing the eclectic, glib, and somewhat comical happenings of the title hotel.

It has a little something for everyone. Occasional fumbles in flow are overlookable in this installment of Mezynski’s work, since most of the individual pieces can stand on their own.  Glimpses is still available from Scrambler Books.

Review by James R. Gapinski
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