Taxicab Voice

Chap­book, Neil Flow­ers, 12 pgs, above/ground press, above­ground­press.blogspot.com, $5

Broken Pencil - - Zine Reviews -

The 5.5 x 8.5 inch for­mat favoured by above/ground press was waived for this col­lec­tion; Taxicab Voice is a com­pa­ra­bly enor­mous 8.5 by 11. It was pre­sum­ably the au­thor’s pref­er­ence, and while it could be ow­ing to the length of a cou­ple of these po­ems, Neil Flow­ers may also have been look­ing to make this re­sem­ble a song book. Most of this writ­ing in­volve mu­sic, in one form or an­other, and it’s all ded­i­cated to Bill Hawkins, a re­cently-de­ceased Canadian folk mu­si­cian and poet.

Much of Taxicab Voice speaks from the per­spec­tive of Hawkins, and it’s pos­si­ble that it’s en­tirely about him — a nar­ra­tion of the about-town and on-the-road life of a Canadian bard. If the two men weren’t friends, they were at least ac­quain­tances — both in­hab­ited the Ot­tawa po­etry scene of the early ’70s, and Flow­ers in­cluded Hawkins’ writ­ing in an an­thol­ogy in 1973.

There’s a par­tic­u­lar term that ap­pears re­peat­edly through­out this col­lec­tion, loosely ty­ing its po­ems to­gether: “star­fuck­ers” (in mul­ti­ple forms). In one in­stance, it refers to groupies, as seen from Hawkins’ per­spec­tive: the “Women

with rain­bows for eyes.” Later, the la­bel is as­signed to some­one who picks up Hawkins af­ter his car breaks down: “Who comes to your res­cue? / Cree­ley. / Star Fucker!” (ref­er­enc­ing poet Robert Cree­ley). Flow­ers’ care­free use of such lan­guage paints an amus­ing im­age of that ful­some cir­cle of artists. (Scott Bryson)

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