Dickow’s “breathblossoms” slay the living chains on syntax, setting words free from the living death of the same things properly felt and said. Weary books are the peril of poetry and person, and on Dickow’s tongue awaken and surprise us all again and again, the freshness of poetry emerging at the growth point of the unrecognized. “Let the record flourish” indeed, for poetry lives again in these Appetites
startled into savoring. Poetry lives!
—Bob Siegle, author of Suburban Ambush
Alexander Dickow takes the reader on a Rabelaisian romp through lyric English. He savors crumbling syntax, nouns spiced into verbs, delicious assonance, and meaning crunched askew: “all carrion items.” A pungent and exuberant collection.
Note that this book is called Appetites,
not Appetite. Note how capacious that plural is: how much space it opens for mixing and mingling. Alexander Dickow’s appetite for such pleasurable slippage is enormous: “one arm scooping the all sea / to drink my huge mouth of thirst.” Or perhaps, as the twisted syntax of the line suggests, the world’s appetite for Dickow is equally unbounded. It should be: Dickow is an unusually supple poet, sucking up all the historical possibilities of the lyric—from apostrophe to parataxis—and redeploying them in his own delicious stew. In this compact, expansive volume, Dickow makes langage itself a delicacy and invites the reader to sup.
Delightfully playful, Alexander Dickow’s newest collection of poetry—Appetites
—is a feast for all. Readers ravenous for Dickow’s former strengths of attention to the sounds, puns and turns of language (the “crabbed utterings [that] / Topple our blurred lips out”) will find themselves satiated. But the cherry on the top is a witty spice spooned heftily into the mix: Dickow’s humorous tug of war between the archaic, arcane and the ultramodern (recalling explorations by Lisa Jarnot). This is “tall verbiage,” as he writes in “Beverage,” which readers are certain to drink in with relish. À table!
—Jennifer K. Dick