on WORD :: REVIEW :: Peter Milne Greiner on Paige Lipari's 'Family of Many Enzos'
Peter Milne Greiner reviews Family of Many Enzos by Paige Lipari / Augury Books
If the first planet from the sun is a hairy arm brandishing a serrated knife you have entered Paige Lipari’s
Family of Many Enzos, her first chapbook from Augury Books, is equal parts nursery rhyme,
spell book, parable, omen, and Adult Swim. The opening poem begins with the line “Here is the bloodiest
hour of the volcano,” and is accompanied by an illustration of a severely teated creature, volcano for a
head, bloodshot eye for a caldera, grasping in its outstretched left hand a matching bloodshot eye.
A sort-of-cyclops: giant of the forge, of the volcano, of the rupture.
Our guide through Family’s “infinite fissure” is, aptly, a composite myth that sees and erupts out of the same organ.
Lipari rarely strays from the first-person(a) speech-act called for by such presences, but nevertheless
convincingly evokes her weird saga from a disparate and motley brood of vantage points.
“Was I really producing all the sounds,” the speaker of “Little Wedding” asks.
“The raga, was that me? The chocolate cake gulps? The neck slicing?”
The reader can’t help but shudder and consent. In Lipari’s goth kitchen, recipes like spells undo the ills of the expected, but not the threat. Facing “Retrieved Puppies: Romeo and Julietta” is an image of something hiding in the branches of a tree watching a pair of grinning dogs. Terror is drawn with the left hand.
Possessed of something approximating omniscience and worldly torpor, the speaker of “Olivia Coming Alive All Alone” complains of “time machines dropping / me in places I’ve / already been,” and gets our automatic, unwitting sympathy. There’s something about Lipari’s denizenry of straw men, possible clones, he-men, and puppies that is very winning, despite the sometimes unshakable balefulness of its incantations. But in Lipariland fear is funny, and beneath this book’s eerie, Beetlejuice-esqe skein, beneath its cross- wired carnalities and genre-refusals, is something so simple it could be the unidentifiable body of a moral.
Peter Milne Greiner is a poet. His work has appeared recently in Fence, Stone Telling, and FAQNP.
He is a frequent contributor to Exit Strata in all its many-festations. (we = pleased as punch)
want more? read Peter’s recent review of Emily Klass’s Works on Paper Show, “Universal Fit” at This Must Be The Place Gallery
or hear him read from his poems at Infinite Combinatoriality: Animals vs Humans CoCo in Concert [Exit Strata/Home Audio]