December 15, 2008

Review by David Partch

by Marvin R. Hiemstra

Zippy Digital
166 Bonview Street
San Francisco, California – 94110
ISBN 10: 9780979572012
Orders: drollmarv @

French Kiss Destiny, the DVD sets several new standards for poetry in our times. By choosing the DVD format, Marvin R. Hiemstra demonstrates the power of performing, as opposed to publishing or merely reciting, one’s poetry. He underlines the significance of this with his own comment that “the Victorians so relentlessly glued poetry to the printed page and sat on it.” With humor, class and insight, he pulls poetry back out from underneath those behinds and successfully demonstrates the advantages of this new media. And fortunately, he has the good taste to not overwork the format with the extraneous clutter and distraction of contemporary video editing and its hideous fragmentation. Just simple scenes with graceful dramatic embellishment.

With facial gestures that would easily have put him in Hollywood on the set of a sitcom, Hiemstra could also have rivaled Jim Carrey in film. Yet either of those fates would have been a waste of his true talents. Although he is known as a dedicated humorist committed to undermining the specter of apocalypse with a broad smile and loving wit, the reader should beware: This poet can be deadly serious. At the end of “Hot Bear Claws Just Out of the Oven,” he deadpans: “Don’t Forget. Time bear knows how to play dead.” But if anyone is capable of showing “the importance of affection in this totally terrifying 21st century” without trivializing everything, Hiemstra not only hits the mark, but somehow makes you feel warm and fuzzy about it in the process.

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