Goodreads Review: Solitudes Crowded With Loneliness

Solitudes Crowded With Loneliness

Solitudes Crowded With Loneliness by Bob Kaufman
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jazz poetry at its finest and I can feel where some other Beats licked their riffs off of.

In the “Poems” section, the music is all in the lines and the language so Kaufman doesn’t have to throw his lines all over the page to affect musicality, he just lets them roll on their own beat and effect their own drones and tones.

“Second April” switches off into stanza sections set in newspaper style justified blocks of prose-imagery that chronicles the speaker’s stint in rehab. The account is chilling but never falls into self-pity (from the speaker or from the reader) thanks to its anchored speech.

“Abomunist Manfifesto” is a straight trip. Invented and re-imagined history with the just-concocted language directly aimed at the current political system is the height of poetic satire that modern experimental/performance/academic/slam poets are still aspiring to reach.

This feels like the kind of poetry collection I am going to have to revisit more than once.

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  1. Good review here. I need to read this book again. I admire it very much, and like we were talking about, I have to fight with myself over the Abomunism section, and its apparent lightness, which was jarring to me, in relation to the “heaviness” of the book’s previous sections.

  2. Yeah, I can see how the shift is abrupt, but it feels like the different sections and their unique tones is Kaufman’s way of saying–
    “What are you looking for in poetry? Lyricism and collective conciseness? (Check out the “Poems” section) Density of language and individual perspecitve? (Check out “Second April”) Irreverence and collage? (Check out “Abomunist Manfifesto”)

    Yeah, did I miss anything?”

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