Micro-Review Monday: Russian Novels by Luke Bloomfield

Russian Novels
by Luke Bloomfield
Factory Hollow Press

There is a moment in the poem “Something Small and Precious” where the poet shows a decision being made. The poem paints a scene outside a “metal museum” of two people meeting, revealing their collections and capabilities to each other. When one “who assembles the world on the/ backs of whales” exits, the poem concludes with “Across the street there is a/ meatball factory child playing”.

By parading to the reader the choice being made, the poem chooses “factory” and “child” both, creating an effect not typically had, and it’s damn hilarious. More importantly, the strikethrough serves up a comment on the all-too-common superfluousness in surrealism. So much of what passes today for imagination’s outer limits feels nullifyingly indiscriminate and often disingenuous.

What differentiates Bloomfield’s surrealism is not only its intelligence and craft, but it’s care for humanity. Bloomfield is a true logician, potting imagination’s infinite variables into a soil of odd, but reasonable sense and insight. The poems come on unanticipated and sophisticatedly surprising; taking weird situationalism and exotic names and localizing them in a benevolent storyteller’s voice. And while it feels familiar, it’s not, and maneuvering in such fluency is no easy feat. Russian Novels reminds readers who come to poetry for surrealism’s potential that while possibility exists, it’s the humanity in making such things possible which gives us lasting company.

Brian Foley