Tuesday, December 13, 2005

American Beauty

I have pasted in a review of an intriguing new work by American poet John Hospodka below. Just click on the Post heading and follow the links to purchase straight from the publisher.

By John Hospodka
Bohemian Pupil Press, 63 Pages

Greetings From Hardscrabble, Chicago embodies not only a time and place but a state of mind. Just the title evokes images of the Chicago’s South Side much the same as Hell’s Kitchen can never be mistaken for anything other than the Manhattan neighborhood that bears that particular name. John Hospodka’s words are much more than brush strokes of personality. He adeptly reaches his hand into the heart and soul of Hardscrabble and delivers us a canvas of prose and poetry that breathes the way art should breathe-- with blood pressure and depth. The “Mr. Man Monologues”, might easily be viewed as a trio of short-short stories but, in reality, they’re a “conversation” between the reader and the book itself. Mr. Hospodka’s subtle crafting subdues the reader just before exciting him. A very nice touch that one discovers well into reading the monologues. Hardscrabble’s centerpiece, “Soliloquy At Hi-Fi” begs to be read, especially with an opening sentence that casually states “A better man couldn’t have killed her.” Hospodka’s blend of tragedy and hope serves as the concrete mix with which he mends the shatter marks of a broken heart.

Hospodka’s scalpel-edge poetry is well worth reading. “The Night They Tore Old Comiskey Down” is a superb visual opening for this book. “Song From Hardscrabble” is heartbreaking while “Hotel Chicago” brings us the Windy City much the way a vintage photograph forever captures a single moment in the life of a neighborhood. The finale, “The Reckoning of a Post-9/11 Bohemian Hardscrabbler” is the perfect ending doubling as the perfect beginning.

Greetings From Hardscrabble, Chicago weighs in at 63 pages but it is the first volume of Hospodka’s South Side Trilogy. John Hospodka’s writing jabs like a Golden Gloves boxer, always keeping you on your feet so you can feel the next punch as it hits.

Reading John Hospodka’s work is reading Chicago

- John A. Mangarella 2004

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