Microreview Monday


Paul Siegell

A-Head Publishing, 2009



Like his dazzling debut Poemergency Room, Paul Siegell’s second collection jambandbootleg buzzes with exuberance so huge the book can barely contain it. From the blurb by his dad—“What a rush!” to the “(((Whooo’s got my publisher?)))” where most would put “acknowledgments” to the “SETLIST” instead of a “Table of Contents,” Siegell’s book embodies the non-stop sensory overload of a super-fun show.


Like the bands he idolizes—Phish, the Disco Biscuits—Siegell’s poetry has an improvisational quality, but not an optional one; there are surprises, certainly, but so too is there skillful decision-making at work; he is causing effects to happen for a reason. Or as he puts it in “SET III” “for Dionysus speaks: / Apollo descends w/ boundaries.”


In “Meet Me at Will Call” he writes:


I. Today

I was told

over the phone

that I sounded



And he sounds that way over the page, too, which makes this book refreshing, a romp—a cover-to-cover experience of Dionysian excess, ecstasy, and escape. In poems that take concert-going as their well-spring, Siegell carries on the visionary tradition of Ginsberg and Blake. [Kathleen Rooney]