April 20, 2009

Review by Kerry Krouse

by Dan Albergotti

BOA Editions, Ltd
250 N. Goodman St, Suite 306
Rochester, NY 14607
ISBN 978-1-934414-03-3
2008, 96 pp., $16.00

We like for things to be orderly—for our houses to shine and our gardens to be weedless. We want the world to be as easy and knowable as the predictably designed houses and neatly ordered streets in new subdivisions. But to read Dan Albergotti’s collection of poems, The Boatloads, winner of 2007 A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize, you have to leave the comfort of the subdivision and stand at the uncomfortable borders where worlds meet: the ancient burial ground that sleeps below the shopping mall, the sidewalk shared by the faithful and the homeless, the streets lined with fruit trees but also gutters. The poems of The Boatloads live in this intersection where antiquity intersects modernity, where the sacred intersects the profane, where faith collides with truth.

Perhaps it is our nature to view the world as a hierarchy. Even a child is aware of his rank—he is less powerful than all those he must answer to: parents, teachers, and even older children, but he may rule over all those with less power or size than his own. The problem with this hierarchy is that it lets us become too comfortable with our own position, our own power, making it easier and easier turn away from all those below us. Albergotti topples the hierarchy; he names each part of it a world and sets it in motion. All the worlds then—the gods, the humans, the animals, the earth’s elements, the dead—exist along side each other—each with surprisingly similar concerns. Albergotti’s poems interrogate the betweeness of things, the strange reflex of each order of the world to turn away from the last.

In each of these worlds, the author is our guide. He pulls back curtains Continue reading

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