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October 12, 2012 / Rae Spencer

Review: A Strange Frenzy

A Strange Frenzy:  17 poems by Dom Gabrielli
(unbound CONTENT, 2012)

This smart, nuanced little chapbook pairs each of its seventeen poems with a quote from Rumi. Printed in an interesting horizontal format, complete with delicate artwork, the airy expanses of white space invite marginalia.

The author’s short introduction asks “From what star in the skies of the Outside do these poems gather their light?” These poems glimmer and burn with a unique light of their own, making no attempt to outshine Rumi’s timeless quotes. In fact, the poems are stripped of punctuation and mostly devoid of capitalization, as if deliberately deferential to the accompanying quotes.

Despite their unassuming arrangement on the page, these poems are refined. And, while love is the unifying theme, this is not a collection of love poems.

“once i courted a diamond / to cut my wrists / in the thunderstorm of battle / and love poured down like rain” (Poem II, page 11)

“i say me / i should eliminate it / i should stretch it out / and flatten every notion of person” (Poem IX, page 25)

“every drink they offer is poison // all the food they have is dangerous // if you do not eat // you shall starve” (Poem XII, page 31)

I’m delighted to add A Strange Frenzy to my poetry shelf, and I’m already looking forward to the moment, perhaps years from now, when I pull it down from the shelf and discover its poems anew.

  • Author Dom Gabrielli and unbound CONTENT publisher Annmarie Lockhart discussed A Strange Frenzy in this blog talk radio episode.
  • Poem II appears on the poemblog at vox poetica.

One Comment

  1. bardessdmdenton / Oct 16 2012 2:56 PM

    Your reviews are so lyrical and inviting in themselves, Rae. Being a lover of Rumi, I must go and read A Strange Frenzy now too!

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