Monday, July 16, 2018



(Main Street Rag, Charlotte, NC, 2018)

My favorite element in Colin Dodds’ Spokes of an Uneven Wheel may well be his imagery because (1) image can rarely be didactic even in narrative; like a poem, it can only be (sorry, couldn’t resist); and, (2) Dodds does imagery well.  An example:

Yet imagery is just one of Dodds’ assets. Another is how his philosophy sometimes sing, e.g.

… baseball and the other ways
they trick little boys into civilization
—from “Offramp Tavern”

the green  numeric leer of car mileage
—from “Precipice Tavern”

You want to be a human being
when you grow up
—from “Purgatorio’s Bar & Grill”

Throughout the book, Dodds freshens up the ways to make his points, for example from “The Shock of Relaxation”:

The hand pulled back to hit
returns with a caress
and just like that, you’re perfect
for a second

as well as how he movingly presents, ultimately, Desire in these lines from “The Early Train”:

The conductor says Court Street like coarsening
I try to meditate, but apple-candy perfume
stings my nose and earphone leak batters
my thoughts or attempts at thoughtlessness
It’s how I know
I’m not making all this up, how I know
I’m not alone

Some lines are also devious, say, with this from “Leasing in the Leviathan”:

“But every word is harmless, a kitten harness”

Really? I have two kittens—they’re terrorists and have damaged more in my house than my two German Shepherds and two adult cats combined. So it must be like how words “don’t break one’s bones”… and yet can inflict harm.

It’s almost predictable to observe that, of course of course there’s wit! Like, from “Book Court, Book Jury”:

The bookstore people
want to rub their genitals on the distant reaches of

This is a book, therefore, whose forest at first reading is hard to see for the attention demanded by the trees of its many marvelous individual lines. But I don’t begrudge having to return for a second (or more) read to more fully capture its arc or overall project-premise. I’m optimistic because wonderful poems are usually created from wonderful lines. This book’s journey is Recommended.


Eileen Tabios is the editor of Galatea Resurrects (GR)She loves books and has released over 50 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in nine countries and cyberspace. Her 2018 poetry collections include HIRAETH: Tercets From the Last Archipelago, MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION: A Poetry Generator, TANKA: Vol. 1and ONE TWO THREE: Selected Hay(na)ku Poems which is a bilingual English-Spanish edition with translator Rebeka Lembo. She invented the poetry form “hay(na)ku” which will be the focus of 15-year anniversary celebrations at the San Francisco and Saint Helena Public Libraries in 2018. While she doesn't usually let her books be reviewed by GR since she's its editor, exceptions are made for projects that involve other poets; in this issue, her IF THEY HADN'T WORN WHITE HOODS... collaboration with John Bloomberg-Rissman is reviewed HERE. She also is pleased to direct you elsewhere to reviews of her own books: her MANHATTAN: An Archaeology was reviewed in EMPTY MIRROR; her LOVE IN A TIME OF BELLIGERENCE was reviewed in Sticks & Stonesand her ONE TWO THREE: SELECTED HAY(NA)KU POEMS was reviewed in the San Francisco Review of Books. More information about her works is available at