Book Review

The Daily Art Source

A Review of Exercises in High Treason by John J. Trause

"If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution." – Emma Goldman

 I thought this was a proper quote for Mr. Trause’s new book. Don Zirilli says in his introduction that Mr. Trause will stoop lower than most. I don’t know if that is a badge to wear in honor, or just an adolescent game. I am sure there is a place for poems like Sestina Intestina which includes nothing but the word, Blah. I am just unaware of such a place but does that make me out of turn, out of touch? There is certainly nothing wrong with writing with humor.
But don’t get me wrong, there is good poetry here.
In the poem, “Unnatural Reflections on a Green Pepper” Mr. Trause writes,

Ceraceous skin and puckering flesh,
An outer shell, an inner mesh,
A Gothic structure in a pod,
Sacred heart.

Refreshing is your piquant taste,
Through bitter are the needs encased
In your virescent uterus,
Cool and crisp.

This is a very good poem. A confession. Although, Mr. Tause spends most of the book writing poems and rather just below the radar, or what used to be just below the radar, see a lot of self-published, zine poetry in the 1980’s and 1990’s, he can still write well. Which is to say the aforementioned isn’t it well, it’s just surprising to see someone of his talent still following this path.
I’m on the fence, the border really. But that doesn’t mean you should be.

Chris Mansel