A book review of S.J. Fowler’s “Sticker Poems” review by Samuel Strathman

Sticker Poems by SJ Fowler

S.J. Fowler
STICKER POEMS
Trickhouse Press, 2021
Paperback, 126 pgs.

S.J. Fowler’s visual poetry collection, Sticker Poems (Trickhouse Press, 2021) is any childhood sticker fan’s dream.  The book is a compendium of our favorite stickers, as well as crafty new creations.  There are also many statements within the pages that are meant for humor as well as deeper thought.  A sticker book could not be a sticker book without repetition, but Fowler makes the repetition meaningful in the only way that a vispo (visual poetry) master can. 

The book has a lot of mixed media which helps to elevate the story told within its pages, and unlike his earlier book, Crayon Poems (Penteract Press, 2020) he keeps the mood light.  This is done through using bright visuals as well as different hypnotic mediums that help elevate his sticker world.  This would be considered an adult book by all accounts since there is cursing and violent language used in good fun, not to mention the grammatical errors which are not errors if they are done for creative purposes.  “for here. come I! to kiss arses” or “cuddliest & killingest…the great bear” being some of what is used.  These are short lines of text are oftentimes original as well as paying homage to many of the positive messages used in stickers.  “Make good use of Today” being one of them.  Many of the stickers like the menacing “Zero Medo” are rather menacing and add flavor and contrast to the child friendly stickers. 

Some of the new and exciting stickers that Fowler has created are new troll-like creatures, “Garbage Pail Kids,” colorful blot patterns, and other new and animal felt stickers.  Many of these images we would like to pick from the pages, and fortunately for us Fowler does allow us to take a few off the pages.

The trouble of being an amateur reviewer doing his second review is trying to decipher a storyline within “Stricker Poems.”  Visual poetry, like paintings or other artwork, is often more of a statement than a storyline to me.  After reading the essays by S.J. Fowler and David Spittle, I find that I have more questions and even less answers.  Besides using mixed media, drawings, and repetition I’m unsure as to the technique used here.  In the end, I rather not to try and evaluate the author’s school of thought.  It is better to sit back and enjoy the ride, and a wild one it is.  

Reviewer Bio

Samuel Strathman is a poet, visual artist, author, and custodian.  His poetry has appeared in Pulp Literature, I-70 Review, and Prole.  His debut poetry collection, “Omnishambles” is forthcoming with Ice Floe Press (2022).

Before the Bridges Fell #9 by David L O’Nan : Living in This Toxic Coalmine – poetry first on Icefloe Press

Photo filtered by David L O’Nan of a coalmine.

Living in This Toxic Coalmine
first published in Icefloe Press  
There are fields that no one wants to breathe
There is a reality in which we cannot be

I wait for you to heal, as you wither like the sand
I wait for your angels to come by and build a temple with your hands

You’ve breathed in the blackest of beasts
That smother the air within the flow of these demons

Within our heart is little shards of twisted quartz
The crystals that cut through like minuscule crowns

The devil’s wind rips at the brim of my hat
I’ve got old souls dancing and trying to read the word to me

They know I’m no longer feeling human, I’m becoming a wooden boy
Talking like a stranger, fumbling sickly with his oil can toy.

Diseases like loves are just the flesh of charred whispers
Both feel the burns to the pores.
Sunlight can only wave in the hope to our deepest core

We’re tired of this burning, these shovels
The mouthing rambles of some fake heroes

Broken nose old men become experts at living
As they work on that same carburetor in that ‘95 Ford Taurus every day.

The sunshine has browned the roots of the grasses.
The heat has freckled me to the bones.

Through a life worth living we’ve all felt the worst grief
Some predators and sinners drink in to become their personalities
They’ve watched as the women weathered all the pedals
Under the icy stares from the devil in their men.

The minds that we all see as windows
Always think that they are invisible

The blackest of beasts may not be a pandemic
But the beasts that walk within one’s nerves, flesh & mind.
The darkness of the coal-seam fires
Leave the purity of what is underground to rise up to murder our hope

The mines are vibrating to combustion
The little stones quiver around my pulse
The pulsating veins quake like that bituminous coal
The canary flew in to sit on the wall just to become a wooden body.

The self-igniting madness of families severed by the greed
A pandemic could have been tamed
The spreading of ashes just splintered our breathing, and left us leathering.

Before the Bridges Fell Poem #8 by David L O’Nan   “Those Hazels, They Slice” – poetry first published on IceFloe Press. 

Before the Bridges Fell: English to French and Italian Translation of Clearly! by David L O’Nan  CLAIREMENT! and CHIARAMENTE!

Poem #3 from Before the Bridges Fell by David L O’Nan : “They Had Sadness in Their Eyes (like in Littleton)” – poetry

Interview with EIC David L O’Nan with Anastasia Abboud on Grains of Sand : About how I write, my weird thoughts and a few of my revised Cohen Avalanches in Poetry Poems.

Before the Bridges Fell Poem #8 by David L O’Nan “Those Hazels, They Slice” – poetry first published on IceFloe Press.

Those Hazels, They Slice

first published in IceFloe Press https://icefloepress.net/two-poems-david-l-o-nan/

Remembering, those memories
Before the seclusion
To memories of you,
Somehow you made it from Limerick to Lane Fork
A creek full of snakes
They intrigued you to say
More snakes than angels here
Then you laughed
Níos mó nathracha ná aingil anseo
In our early twenties with hazels that wondered

Remembering, for many months
Trying to catch the butterfly
To dance with before the thunder bled on us
I had you within sight,
You were a millennial hippy in bellbottoms on Thursdays
By Friday you were vintage chic in a La Mendola dress
I’d long for you while hearing Sarah’s song playing in my head
Sharon from the Vampire Killers,
Your passion was to be Sharon from the Valley of the Dolls
And you, you drifted with hazels that sliced

Now we are children of 27.
You the Irish starlet searching for the dream
Stuck with a follower in love, a boy created in the dirt of the Midwest
Gravel chaffing your boho chick boots
We have to keep moving to keep your mind still
From Nashville to Kansas City to Yokohama for a week
We bled money from mud caves to gold mines
Until we shelved ourselves and began to pity as rats –
On the skim of the raising floods of New Orleans
The comedy of fools we entered drunk for many years
And your hazels lined with red in the castle of your soul

Twenties to Thirties,
Drinking and falling deeper to the sins
In passions you ran away,
I lay dire as the lone wolf
And still give you chance after chance
Dreaming of our rainjackets clashing on Toulouse
Wasting away in the downpours,
Our shoes getting stuck in sewer grates
Where are you now?
To new protectors, to new thieves
To talent scouts on Magazine Street
Your hazels looked to me and you say
sorry, no more kisses. I have to say goodbye
brón orm, gan póga níos mó. Caithfidh mé slán a fhágáil
What a tease as I fall to a prayer

Memories aren’t easy in the Big Easy in a lockdown
Coltrane’s “Blue Train” is growing more static and hisses
I just see those hazels, slice and say goodbye
Like your dizzy wake-ups before you drink your first drink
This song plays me like a straitjacket
And I dream of escaping on a ferry boat and hiding away
To one day escape your eyes and fall into the waters that’ll sway –
Sway me back to my youth and the worries I did not have.
The memories are my seizures
To my madman bones melted into your old Mahogany chair

Are you in your destiny,
Are you in love
Are you protected from the diseases,
Have the diseases took your identity
Has your fashion turned to rags
Have your men gone from Polanski to a black & white photo of our past
Are you enfolded to someone to cling to in the dying days of sunsets?

I’m not sure I can move past those hazels that sliced
Not knowing is just as bad as ever having you around.
The ashes spit down from the attic. The dust settles down my feet
It all becomes a haven for the depression to circulate within me.
And I whisper to myself, as if I were talking to the memory of you like a ghost.
to live alone, I don’t really know if I can. Without you, can I?
le maireachtáil liom féin, níl a fhios agam an féidir liom. Gan tú, an féidir liom?

Poem #1 from Before the Bridges Fell by David L O’Nan: Narcissism Taxi Cab Parades – poetry

Poem #2 from Before the Bridges Fell by David L O’Nan :Black Jackets and Boneless- Poetry

Poem #3 from Before the Bridges Fell by David L O’Nan : “They Had Sadness in Their Eyes (like in Littleton)” – poetry

Poem #4 “Before the Bridges Fell” by David L O’Nan Remembering Carol Andersen

poem #5 Before the Bridges Fell : Fevers of the Mind to Inspire Artwork Series (2009) by David L O’Nan – poetry

Poem #6 Before the Bridges Fell by David L O’Nan : “They Are Running My Prints” – poetry

Poem #7 from Before the Bridges Fell: Scattered Christmas Garbage by David L O’Nan – poetry

Before the Bridges Fell: English to French and Italian Translation of Clearly! by David L O’Nan CLAIREMENT! and CHIARAMENTE!

Interview with EIC David L O’Nan with Anastasia Abboud on Grains of Sand : About how I write, my weird thoughts and a few of my revised Cohen Avalanches in Poetry Poems.

2 Poems for Lou Reed by Robert Frede Kenter : Variance (2 parts)

Variance

1.

Thinking of Lou Reed. and New York City

that was and is /now gone…gone….so
still …the fragile shards of some unreasonable flower from half empty pockets torn from old coats ….entwines and blooms so there still this vibrant pulse ….the fleeting skein of some dense architectonic memory….always leaving, yet inside the vein beneath my skin and at twilight you are still there too and leave a card beside the wall on a scattered table….the pulse, the pulse….that I think is….though also ….gone….

2.

For Lou Reed (1978)

fragile unreasonable flower
old full-length black autumn coat with pockets
dogeared post card against a wall
drifts from a scattered table
books letters notebooks
bloom inside the entwined half-full
shards inside this midtown Manhattan
SRO hotel

In the cold
In the cold vibrant twilight
In the cold vibrant
In the twilight
In cold twilight

5 poems inspired by Leonard Cohen by Robert Frede Kenter (Before I Turn Into Gold Day)

Poem for a Russian Grandmother in Exile by Robert Frede Kenter w/ A Painting by Moira J. Saucer

4 poems from Robert Frede Kenter in Avalanches in Poetry

An Interview with Robert Frede Kenter of Icefloe Press

4 poems by Robert Frede Kenter published in Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020

Robert Frede Kenter is a 2020 pushcart nominee, poet, visual artist, editor and the publisher of Ice FloePress.  Currently living in Toronto, work is published widely, incl. Floodlight Editions, Cypress, Burning House Press, AnthropoceneNew QuarterlyGrainPrairie FireGoing Down SwingingFascist PantiesCoughFevers OfThe hybrid, Audacity of Form (2019), is available from Ice Floe Press.

Check out Robert’s latest book “Eden” with Floodlight Editions.

Eden is a selection of hybrid pareidolia poetry which glides within abstract visions. Robert Frede Kenter’s mirrored shards dangle inside sensory gardens. Smoke encircles words communicating raw politics and myth through jazzy vibrations twinkling in the shadows. Kenter’s poetry contorts paint, collage, drawn figures, photos, and found text. This imaginative collection, along with his other works and collaborations spanning more than three decades, solidify his place in the experimental poetry scene.

— Margaret Viboolsittiseri

https://www.etsy.com/listing/1081912272/eden-robert-frede-kenter

Tanka/Haiku style poetry showcase from Samuel Stathman

brown and black wooden guitar and black leather bag

photo from Unsplash (Europeana)

1.

cartographer’s bone
picked with the equestrian
stampeding ensued
bicoastal defamation
rewrite historical maps

2.

in dull recesses
find the neon imago
mother’s milk to drink
reawaken unified
not god but cultured creature

3.

small wind instruments
tickling the widow’s ear
heady blandishments

4.

sky’s furrowed tendrils
lightening revives the dragon
exhumes vile bones
goliaths of an old tribe
discarded relics

5.

black air raising hairs
prickling the needle neck
red limbless ocean
eels traversing coastlines
Persephone on lookout

6.

rending of the sea
ghosts preying on destruction
aligned with their posts
islanders abandoning ships
swashbuckler’s bad omen

7.

grandiose ghazal
sultry arabian night
fiddler’s heaven
dripping wax overexcites
opium cloud dynasty

8.

meditative snowfall
unconscionable tension
cathartic release
noon hour crowds dissipating
solace behind coloured glass

9.

thrush’s old singsong
head north before nerves kick in
10.

plows in the distance
prizeworthy lineation
stones heaving in the mud

11.

galvanized breezeway
intimate pyrotechnics
bubbles among stars

12.

nightmarish dungeon
somnambulist skeletons
mourn finality
last rites for fallen angels
black flower necropolis

13.

ashram for your thoughts
yellow moths grow from tall grass
mood can be anchor
draw an ocean with a glance
smell the brine off flying fish 

14.

winged ritual
birds scaling belltowers
wind breaking current
gleam of passing vehicles
splitting the time barrier

15.

vermillion sluice
zombie rats lining spillways
deadbolted prey
eyeless momento mori
hail the bony chimera

16.

memorial park
widows placing spring flowers
dewy bloodshot eyes
groundskeeper whistling tunes
keys jangling on their ring


Bio: Samuel Strathman is a poet, author, visual artist, and educator.  He was also the editor-in-chief of Floodlight Editions.  Some of his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Cobra Milk, I-70 Review, Prole, and other magazines and journals.  His debut poetry collection, "Omnishambles" is forthcoming with Ice Floe Press (2022).


A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Samuel Strathman

Poetry by Samuel Strathman from Fevers of the Mind Anthologies

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