Book Review for Television Poems:

Subterranean Blue Poetry

Volume X Issue III


Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: Television Poems

Author: Jessi MacEachern

Publisher: above/ground press

Date of Publication: 2021

Pages: 31

“past the television skies . . .”
- from We could’ve painted skies blue
by Adrian Ernesto Cepeda

Under the shadow of the moon, the day was night, the day was day, the television played and played . . . a brilliant original interpretation of Beat poetics, Television Poems by Jessi MacEachern and above/ground press. Jessi MacEachern (poet, teacher, researcher) lives in Montreal. She is widely published, being featured at CAROUSEL, Poetry is Dead, MuseMedusa, PRISM, CV2, Touch the Donkey, Vallum and Canthius. Her first poetry imprint, A Number of Stunning Attacks (2021) is available from Invisible Publishing.

This Chapbook is a haunting. As if the poet is sitting in front of the television reinterpreting, perhaps rewriting impressions of a tv show which are probably more interesting than the tv show itself. Each poem with an enigmatic title and a subtitle of the name and episode of a television show unfolds as an exciting reinvented archetype, each poem a disembodied story. Allusions to people and events in the poem have no names or titles, each sentence is a different thought form manifesting a violent undertow when the poem is read entire. The separate lines together create a new storyboard, perhaps a story of malifecence, of rambling contusions, riveting. The presentation borders on DaDa, as if in the spirit of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, Television Poems is somewhat more surreal with elements of the neo-classical.

Each poem features a box, also filled with poetry. It is as if the poet is playing the ferryman in the movie A Man for All Seasons, who stands and addresses the camera/audience with his observations of the events of the time (Sir Thomas More, the Archbishop of Canterbury, refuses to support an anullment of King Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon). In poetry, the commentary on the events/people/ places of the television poem is enigmatic, like a rolling newsreel in surrealist mystery, disaffected, creates interlogue between the Reader as audience and the poet as writer. A brilliant innovation of New Age poetics.

From She Was a Maid of Cleopatra
Inside No. 9 S4E1, “Zanzibar”

“This one is open.
                                        Guess it might be mine.
There is but one cure.
                                            Make my juices flow.
You had me worried.
                                  There you are, my love.
How are you feeling?
                                            I am sleeping now . . .”

(Then a box of writing appears)

“You are our country’s
future. A woman
should be wooed with
care. You’re stressed,
I’m not. Maturity
makes the unusual
request. A tart can be
one of two things:
sweet pastry or red
woman . . .”

In the background a play on the contuded bed rites scene of N.A., a truthtelling in metaphorical landscapes, a brilliant write, Television Poems by Jessi MacEachern.

Available @ above/ground press.

Subterranean Blue Poetry

© 2022