The poems in Kenneth Pobo’s Loplop in a Red City spring from artworks old and new, figurative to abstract, Vincent Van Gogh to Leonora Carrington to Max Ernst. Like those works, the poems in Loplop are agonized and idyllic, uneasily at home in the surreal, animated, beautiful, and complex.
ISBN: 978-1-939530-03-5 (trade paper) | 96 pp.
The Third of May / Goya
Blood on hills red
with poppies. When you try praying,
crows pluck up your words,
fly off. At night, mamelukes,
men with families back home,
crack guns over faces. Your arms
rise above your head. Flesh
must sink to bullet level. The shooters
don’t stop—it’s necessary
to make sure. Behind you,
a city doesn’t shake or fall. Buildings
look as they did yesterday.
So much the same but smells
unbearable. Soldiers have
more work to do.
These wonderful poems go way beyond mere ekphrasis. They’re little masterpieces in their own right, bursting with exuberant life from the page and into our memories without our having to know anything about the paintings that inspired them. Indeed, change the titles and we’d still have gorgeous works of literary art. — Robert Cooperman, author of In the Colorado Gold Fever Mountains, winner of the Colorado Book Award for Poetry
“It was like seeing twice,” Cézanne wrote, about the act of painting. Kenneth Pobo’s Lop Lop in a Red City offers us a taste of super powers: his poems present lyrical, verbal play, and we also gain new insight into art, art history, and the painters who created the great works. My own particular favorites are the witty poems about Odilon Redon. Ask me tomorrow, and I may go with Van Gogh. Luckily, we don’t have to choose. Pobo’s poems will provide artistic companionship in the days and years ahead. — Marilyn Kallet, author of 17 books, including The Love That Moves Me
Ken Pobo’s Loplop in a Red City is a breathless whirl of art history that compels us to pause in front of paintings through the lenses of individual poems. There are brilliant daubs of color here, moments where lyrical poems respond to art. Perhaps the concerns of painters are similar to those of poets: who am I, and what has this creative journey meant? — Patricia Clark, Professor and Poet in Residence at Grand Valley State University, author of My Father on a Bicycle and The Canopy
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About Kenneth Pobo
Kenneth Pobo’s work has appeared in Hawaii Review, The Fiddlehead, Mudfish, Indiana Review, Madison Review, Caesura, Eclectica and more. He is author of over 20 poetry collections and chapbooks, including his collection Bend of Quiet, which won the 2014 Blue Light Press Book Award. He teaches creative writing at Widener University in Pennsylvania.