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spacer.gif   POETRY WONDER: DAVE BARR
Posted by : cj on Friday, March 03, 2006 - 11:36 AM
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Chicago Poetry Reviews: Click Headlines .

Woman Of My Dreams
by David Gilbert Barr
Weinberg Press
Reviewed by C. J. Laity


Woman Of My Dreams is the first effort by a fledgling small press, Weinberg Press, out of Portage, Indiana. This handmade chapbook contains 26 pages of love poetry by Coffee Chicago regular Dave Barr, including an introduction by the venue host John Starrs.

What I find most amusing about this book is Barr's ability to write romantic poems while using a layman's voice (all the while keeping a metaphorical straight face):

I took you in my arms,
stroked your back,
grasped your waist,
kissed you, stroked you silken rump.


(from "Dawn at Linc's House")

or

So rare, so fine,
so good looking
all four burners
hot and cooking.


(from "Attractive Facial Features")

Barr is sincere about his longings and desires. The woman of his dreams at times becomes an allegory for the city:

Your body ignites
the calming lake.


(from "Music From the Lake")

or

Joyful . . . he who tastes
this woman's red mouth
in the pavilion,


(from "Theatre by the Lake After Hours")

Sometimes, however, the city is just the city:

There is drumming
on the seawall rocks
by Lake Michigan

Elsewhere
imagination's monkeys
shriek. Gypsies dance.
Around Cricket Hill
by Montrose Beach
kites fly,


(from "Shadow by the Park")

Many of the poems are short and sweet. This is the kind of stuff the common man might look for if he needs something sentimental to read to his wife after a fight:

Longing
has no
name.


(from "Before")

or

The pointed breath
of grass and leaves
pierces my heart.


(from "Jealous of . . . the Wind")

But upon closer look there is a somewhat disturbing voyeurism to this poetry:

A piece of lint
is disturbing her blouse,
requiring her attention.


(from "Red Faced")

Barr is at his best during his informal haikus, demonstrating his ability to write love poetry, plain and simple, in various forms.

Eager eyes entrancing,
twinkling, dancing, light, lit, alight,
intent, earnest, bright.


Granted, Barr's poetry is not for everyone. Some of the poems are so mushy that they are nearly comical:

My love's helpless before you,
your beauty and your grace,
I simply idolize you,
I love your lovely face.


(From "Woman Of My Dreams, What are you Like?")

And there are also disadvantages to being so experimental about the creation of the physical product. My copy of Woman of my Dreams was bound with black tape and most of the glossy one sided pages had come undone by the time I finished reading the book, leaving me with a stack of loose papers.

But there is something to be said for documenting the poetry of Dave Barr, who has been around in Chicago's art scene for five decades. And I think in this case the quality of the work is simply a matter of taste.

To find out how to get yourself a copy of Barr's new book, check out WeinbergPress.com.

--C. J. Laity

Back to the wonders.

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Note: Here is a review of Dave Barr's new book, Woman of my Dreams.

 
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