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Divinely inspired listlessness.

May 9, 2011 \pm\31 10:46 pm

Not only is Ennui Prophet a bastion of cool, it is a true pleasure of craft and originality. Christopher Kennedy writes a world at turns emotionally haunting, descriptively vibrant,  and at times the literary equivalent of an unnerving smirk, as in the opening line of Church of the Holy Abattoir, “I asked a dead cow her opinion of the slaughterhouse.” There is an uneasiness about and an anxious thread stitching together line to line, poem to poem. These are the surreal scenarios of a propheteering mind awash in the weariness expressed by the title.

In this, Kennedy’s fourth book, third volume of prose poems, the reader is asked to continually suspend disbelief but in doing so the reader is also continually rewarded for it. Traveling through this beautiful dementia to discover, as stated by the prophet of The Brown Heroin of Love, “There are ecstacies and then there are ecstacies.”

Kennedy creates with graphic power, terse verbal style, and unassuming inventiveness. His ability can make some these poems appear deceptively simple as in

The Day Before My Violin Broke

The wings of crows were quills dipped in India ink. I looked up from my lesson and watched them rise and bank in the wind, as they painted the pale sky black.

But time and again we are left feeling a fresh awe like springtime, or perhaps something slightly more foreboding, like a lightning strike that makes the hair on your arms bristle.

Reading Ennui Prophet is best encapsulated via this line from The Unimagineable World, “I’m throwing stars at you, but you don’t even feel it.” If you read this book you undoubtedly will feel them–after each page is turned, and long after the book has closed.

This is a book I want to share with my friends, it’s like the cassette tape of Bee Thousand  passed around the college dorm.  As a serendipitous aside, after reading Ennui Prophet and reviewing the front matter I  discovered that the cover art–the book’s badge of cool and fishhook for curiosity–was created by none other than Robert Pollard, the nigh legendary leader of Guided by Voices, elder statesman of indie rock who is also happens to be a noted collage artist.

What more can I say, this book rocks inside and out.

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