review: steve roggenbuck’s “i am like october when i am dead”

i have not had much sleep and i just got home and i feel kinda ill and the carpet on the bottom stair is even more chewed up by the family puppy
i throw a shopping bag full of tea onto my tiny bed and go walk down the stairs again and i see an envelope with my name on it, and i feel happy and think it is cute because it includes my facebook middle name on it (“Bjartrún”)
incidentally i don’t have an actual middle name
bjartrún is pretty ‘vestigial’
i felt good that i was referred to with it, even though it wasn’t to be known that it wasn’t my actual middle name
according to some icelandic girls i know it is pretty much a girl’s name

the wrapping around the envelope is made up of an A4 sheet of paper with stuff about Romanticism and Gothic/Neo-Gothic literature.
some of it is annotated in pencil
‘bourgeois’ is underlined twice
‘Republican’ has a ring around it
one thing written on it says “France starts revolutions thraught Europe” and ‘Europe’ is rubbed out.

there is also one other piece of paper in the wrapping, it says

14

‘perry,’ now that is a good name.

also the envelope was written on, thanking me for spreading the chapbook and for tweeting about him. i feel connected to the world briefly.

the first thing i did when i got the chapbooks was think how amazingly cute they were and accidentally re-arrange them into reverse number order (they are numbered from 1 to 20 and on number 14 the 4 is pretty roughly penned on and i instantly connected to it).

there isn’t a poem in the book that didn’t make me feel really strange and happy
it opens with the line “i don’t care about reading a poem” and i like how disarming it is from the off

i feel like these tiny poems really capture little frames of things that have happened in steve’s life
like they are almost ‘accidental poems’
steve has a really great eye for poetry in tiny things most people won’t notice

i almost cried a few times at some of the images presented
particularly the line “five months ago i saw a video of a dog being thrown into a garbage compactor”
yesterday i had watched the video via http://youcanhelpstopthis.com
so the image resonated with me a lot more than maybe if i had not

there were also a lot of lines that were really absurd and made me laugh
i think that ‘absurdity’ is my favourite thing in literature
“oh, you have a smock on”
is repeating in my head a lot

there is also quite a lot of imagery that evokes in me a feeling of ‘autumn’
corn harvest, sunflowers wilting
stuff is sorta dying
or “i,” the sort-of narrator, is leaving things or escaping things

there is sort of a really strong sense of distance which I think contributes to the quiet absurdity
“you are gone / for lunch i had peanuts”
i really want to eat some nut things now but maybe not peanuts

i am going to be pressing these chapbooks into hands
beware if you know me
or like run a book shop / coffee shop or something near me
stuff is far away from me, you can run if you like

there is bonus text and a video at
http://iamlikeoctoberwheniamdead.com
i would really recommend that you check steve roggenbuck’s stuff out
his sense of poetry makes me feel good
also if you want to help distribute them, and you do because they are really cute you should send an email to
steveroggenbuck@gmail.com
or maybe talk to him on twitter
http://twitter.com/steveroggenbuck
also he has a website with all sorts of wonderful poetry and stuff in Helvetica font. Helvetica is really good
http://steveroggenbuck.com

i hope that you liked my first ‘not a poem’ post on here

i really liked the picture of steve with a hoodie on laying in front of a chess board

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