I was super-chuffed recently to stumble across a review of my chapbook Morgenland by the impossibly-cool Adam Fieled in the impossible to pronounce (but no less cool because of it) online journal Ekleksographia. As Ekleksographia doesn’t seem to be online anymore, here’s the review in full:
Philip Larkin wrote a poem called ‘The Importance of Elsewhere’ that had to do with the freedom that can only come when you are either traveling or settled in a foreign country. That freedom, and the strangeness that attends to it, are the subject of Morgenland, a chapbook originally released in 2007, while poet David Prater was living in Seoul, South Korea. The poems express culture shock, bemusement, awe, and a feeling of transience or impermanence that has a clear resonance with Buddhist philosophy. We are informed that Ko Un is Korea’s most famous living poet, and in ‘Drunken Ko Un’ we see Prater narrate the following: “Audience of subway strangers. Stagger at them! Pelt/ them with praise! I’m Ko Un, and I’m drunker than a/ poem. This text, pirated, sallies forth upon the bristled/ breeze. Ko Un!” The poet steeps himself in the mysteries of a foreign culture, and his poems become rather like circus mirrors, showing us another culture via his own obsessions, feelings, and responses. Yet the chapbook ends with the poet placing himself ‘Back to the Tourist’, left again in a liminal locale: “freshly paved street/ sheets of burning rubber/ castle motel conventions/ buses without destinations”. The chapbook takes on the flavor of a joyride in stolen (Korean) car, and we travel the width of a circle until we are home again, which is on the road, moving, forever. The message is change; the Buddha would be proud.
Update: oh and thanx also to Adam for profiling one of my poems on his personal blog, as part of a wider discussion about ‘post-avant’ poetry. I’m double-chuffed to be mentioned. Okay, that’s it from me. Time for dumplings.