Greg Santos. DC Books, $17.95 paperback (60p) ISBN: 978-1-927599-22-8
Help is on the way for the Anglophone reader in a global poetry world. Rabbit Punch!, the second collection by Greg Santos, offers an admirable finesse to the reader who craves good verse.
In an oversaturated poetry “market” whose only reward, arguably, is bragging rights, and in an age of enforced specialization, in which most people who write poems are denied much attention, it might be worth a moment to acknowledge the fact that despite the pretensions to spiritual authority which often prevail among poets, not all of them escape the temptation to employ techniques of self-promotion that – depending on who you ask, of course – collectively go by the derisive term “careerism.” The question whether this is a matter of degree or kind is probably best settled on a case-by-case basis: but either way, it’s still true (for example) that frequently in debut poetry collections the names of the authors’ grad school professors appear everywhere in the book – below blurbs on the back cover, in “personal” acknowledgements on the flyleaf, on dedication pages, on copyright pages as journal or press editors, and so on – everywhere, in short, but in a poem, where presumably a poet simply means it. And it isn’t that one doesn’t understand why – but also, it kind of is…. By contrast, Greg Santos’ candor in Rabbit Punch! is refreshing. Alongside touching dedications to his family (“To my wife, Maryn, and my children, Rosemary and Arthur, you are my muses. I love you”), we read this: