Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Raw, As It Should Be

Chancing upon the poetry of Angelo Suarez was a favorable byproduct of an unpleasant accident. I was loitering in Powerbooks waiting for a perpetually tardy pseudofriend. Instead of hyperventilating like a maniac I wandered aimlessly among the shelves and asked the store clerk for a copy of a book on Alexey Brodovitch. I was speaking to her mid-sentence when a snooty society matron, towing her colegiala daughter like a sulking shitzu, interrupted our conversation with a loud inquiry: “MISS! ASAN ANG MGA LIBRO NI BOB ONG?!!” (Miss! Where can I find Bob Ong's books?!)

Before the clerk could reply I deadpanned:“There. Good Manners and Right Conduct section.”

The daughter and the clerk blushed. Ivana Tramp shot me dagger looks. Lucky her I was in combative, annoyed mood. I stared back vacantly at her.

She harrumphed, made a sharp about face, bumped the high case of neatly stacked books and jolted Angelo Suarez' Else It Was Purely Girls from the shelf, sending it flying, hitting my shoulder and landing on the floor in front of me. I picked it up, leafed through it while speed reading like a cannibal after weeks of tofu and bean sprouts.

The compact book of poetry instantly reeled me in. I forgot about the crass old hag, my Late Beyond Endurance friend and the book I was asking for. I sat at a nearby couch and finished it in one sitting. Yes, I bought the book and asked for a copy of The Nymph of MTV. Only to be told of its unavailability.

I dashed to National Bookstore and got a copy, and pleasantly surprised to discover along with it the new book Dissonant Umbrellas, a collaboration with equally-ingenious minds including Constantino Zicarelli and Mark Salvatus. (I have been to Mark Salvatus' art exhibit in Cubao Expo before and I loved what I saw.)

Reading through Dissonant Umbrellas gave me the feeling of leaping out of a Gulfsteam, free falling blindfolded and colliding on a tent in a jungle clearing where Gary Larson, Hunter S. Thompson, Joan Miró, Allen Ginsberg and Michel Gondry were camped out, inhaling weed.

I will not synthesise Suarez' poetry as I am unimpeachably convinced that my best attempt at critiquing the imperious streams of incitive wordplay will come off fumbling, sophomoric and will - beyond question - embarrass me to no end. This is one of those instances when I would discard shamelessness and own up to the painful fact that the author is giving me multiple-yet-to-be-identified deep insecurity complexes. Yes, Suarez' poetic manipulations are very contemporary, inventive, provocative, witty and compelling and let's leave it at that. I will refuse to rhapsodize them with foamy adjectives because you and I know that he is a gung-ho creative renegade who deserve proper critiques from legitimate, enlightened persons of letters.

However I will rattle on the presentation of this fantastic book. Dissonant Umbrellas casually flirts with illegibility and consciously composed chaos innovated early on by David Carson in Beach Culture, Raygun and Blue (the travel+adventure title and NOT the gay) magazines. Texts, lines, sentences and paragraphs are fractured, randomly tossed out of grid and order, and oftentimes aimlessly mixed and scrawled that makes me recall the low-fi anti-designs of Tibor Kalman, Stefan Sagmeister and the raw typographic jungle of the now deceased Emigre Magazine.

The mix of helter-skelter graphics, low-fi production techniques and the compellingly raw words of Suarez elicits an urgent, almost confrontational nature to the collaboration, thereby catapulting poetry presentation into a hip, attractive dynamic that will sit well with kids weaned on MTv and prevalent attention deficit disorders. If this is a radical wave to lag the absolute demise of the love for words, then hell be frozen for all I care, I'll sign up for a megaphone-wielding volunteer brigade for its assertion and rampant use.

If you love vivid words, buy Dissonant Umbrellas. If you are a fan of maximalistic design and art direction, you should own this book. If you love both words and design, leave me your mobile number let's have coffee. Kidding. Don't.

But if you are like the snooty old hag in search of pastel, peachy Hallmark sap, buy a lifetime membership to Readers From Hell.

Also known as The Book Club of Oprah and Dr. Phil.


Recently, blogfriend Misterhubs facilitated the existence of a new blog that bills itself The Chronicles of E - a searing, raw confessional streaming on drug abuse, wanton sex, guilty musings, angry outbursts, mindless debauchery, and lucid, tender intervals. I am reminded of Jim Caroll's The Basketball Diaries, Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho/Glamorama/The Rules Of Attraction, James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, JT Leroy's The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City and Patricia Highsmith's sociapathic antihero if he were on Ketamines and hormone overload.

Absolutely not for wimps.


mister said...

Can you give us a sample of Angelo Suarez' poetry? Just a nibble.


loudcloud said...

misterhubs - i'd email you some links to his stuff but i'd rather you read the books. if you get impatient there's the trusty google. hehe

Mugen said...

Angelo Suarez was my junior. He's a good poet. :)

loudcloud said...

mugen! oh, he is definitely a very good poet. a gutsy one, too. he's one of the local poets i genuinely admire. then there's lourd de vera and sid gomez hildawa.

Mac! said...

Good Manners and Right Conduct section. Hahahahaha.

I remember getting lots of B's and C's for GMRC in grade schoolbecause I was so talkative inside the classroom. Looking back, I realized that I wasn't really that talkative; I was just opinionated and loved pointing out my teacher's mistakes. Of course, they didn't really appreciate that. :(

E said...

...wow you peeps are so cultured...I'll try to read those so I can relate hehehehehe (no, im not sarcastic)

loudcloud said...

Amen, Mac! I am regularly sent to the principals office for refusing to apologize when I know the Nazi teachers made a dumbass mistake in the lessons. This explains why I didn't have a "most-behaved" ribbon every closing ceremonies. because "most-behaved" is usually allocated to zombies in the class. Hehe. Thanks for the comment! :-)

loudcloud said...

e! - i am reminded of that wisecrack:

"whenever i hear the word 'culture' i reach for a revolver!"

hehe. waiting for your next installment :-)

Anonymous said...

Lol. You're lucky she didn't bitchslap you. But then, you'd prolly win anyway.

I confess, I don't read poetry books -> The only local one I remember is Jolography because it was soo... Out of this world, and I really prefer other literary structures which bring me to different places (short stories, novels and yes, even plays). I'll check his work anyway.

- Q

loudcloud said...

Q! - i am afraid she is incapable of additional facial muscle movements else her botox-injected face would fall off. hehe. do check the book out. you might like it ;-)

Anonymous said...

i would get lost in his words. he has a gift for words. quatrains for kit did it for me.