Click through for a review of Derek White’s MINING IN THE BLACK HILLS, the twelfth in this full-press review series of Calamari books.
My short anecdote about Derek White’s chapbook MINING IN THE BLACK HILLS:
I had this book sitting on my desk for a week or so. Every person who stopped by to talk with me looked at it. They were intrigued by the cover art, a testament to the way in which White is able to catch the visual receptors in our heads. & likewise, any person who took the risk & opened this book, they gave me a confused look – so much so that one person became agitated & angry, perplexed by the content & asking me: What is this? Is this poetry? Is this fiction? Is it art?
This is what Derek White does. Even as early on as his chapbooks (we will get to his two books later on in this review series), he is mixing genres, modes, & forms so that we are confused, but also oddly intrigued. Sole confusion would be writerly suicide, but confusion peppered with intrigue is often resounding. Some samples:
from ‘untitled 01/01/01’’:
wants to be a part of it
(the free-flinging of new paint
on a canvas) but nobody has time to
absorb the finished piece.
We get so overwhelmed just reading
all the reviews that we end up eating in.
New Years Day 2001
the canvas is clean.’
‘In October I find you in my closet
between hanging garments
reaping holes in the fabric
Awakening to your senses
you spiral upwards towards the light
a filament in a vacuum
entombed in glass
sending exaggerated shadows darting about the room’
& of course no matter how hard I try, I cannot recreate Derek White’s impeccable use of textual images & visuals disorientation as they are represented on the printed page – so take the lyric of these pieces for what they are, because the last print copies of MINING IN THE BLACK HILLS are already gone.
We will get to more of Mr. White down the line, but next up, David Ohle’s dual-novellas BOONS & THE CAMP. Keep it here.