Gregory Robinson. Rose Metal Press, $14.95 paperback (96p) ISBN: 978-0-9887645-5-2
“If you really want to know the truth about silent movies and the words they contain,” Gregory Robinson warns us in the introduction of All Movies Love the Moon, “this book will provide little assistance.” But the collection of prose poems gives us a different kind of truth than a film history book might provide. Each poem is paired with a title card from a silent movie, and each title card is captioned by Robinson. The accompanying poems are sometimes about the movie and more often inspired by the movie. Usually tongue-in-cheek, while still exploring the darker places, the poems use the movies as a springboard, and the reader lands somewhere similar but unexpected. The title cards alongside tidbits of history or commentary give the reader the perfect glimpse into silent film’s quick progression and short life. This is not an historical glimpse but an artistic one, from “~Fifth Avenue~ Where all good minks go to die” (Orchids and Ermine) to “Laughter—the bitterest and most subtle death to hope” (He Who Gets Slapped), from Anita Loos addressing the audience through her title cards to Edison’s corrupt film pioneering. The poems take us to real life: a speaker’s childhood memory, an actress’ fickle fame, the universal truths of travel and trespassing. And in all these things are the movies. As Robinson concludes his poem “The Lodger (1927),” “I learned to kiss from the movies, to lie, to move to an imaginary soundtrack. The strange visitors have lodged in so many uncharted nodes that I can no longer evict them.” While the poems sometimes moved into sentimental territory for this reader, the concept, the accessibility, and the beautiful book design Rose Metal Press is known for give this book a wide audience far beyond the independent lit scene. (March 2014)
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Reviewer bio: Christy Crutchfield’s novel How to Catch a Coyote is forthcoming from Publishing Genius in 2014. Her work has appeared in Mississippi Review online, Salt Hill Journal, the Collagist, Newfound, and others. Visit her at christycrutchfield.com