I received a copy of Kat Giordanos’s The Poet Confronts Bukowski’s Ghost for review purposes. As always, this review reflects only my honest thoughts on the book.
The Poet Confronts Bukowski’s Ghost
by Kat Giordano
Publication Date: 3 June 2018
On the night that I open my first MFA rejection letter,
Charles Bukowski appears in the corner of my college apartment
in stained khakis and a yellowed white undershirt,
swirling Jim Beam in a lowball glass…
The Poet Confronts Bukowski’s Ghost is Kat Giordano’s debut full-length poetry collection.
When I finally sat down to read Kat Giordano’s The Poet Confronts Bukowski’s Ghost, it had been quite a few weeks since I’d written more than a few lines of poetry. Life had turned into a series of crises and I was so on-edge that any time I wasn’t spending tackling the latest problem was allocated to sleep; my usual compulsion to write something was fulfilled just enough by freelance work, but it still took a toll on my mental health along the way.
Reading through this collection, I felt the words flowing again. I tried to remember a few lines and, at one point, stopped to let a full poem make its way onto the page (well, phone screen). The Poet Confronts Bukowski’s Ghost was exactly the book I needed, and I managed to pick it up at exactly the right time.
“Poet Man likes to write about taking random women home from
the bar on a Wednesday night. Not women like you, though.
Capital-W Women, the willowy kind who don’t talk. The whole
world is full of talking and Poet Man wants someone to listen to
him and touch him and not need anything at all.”
-from “Poet Man”
Giordano takes everything from mystery-flavored lollipops to Jesus Himself and makes it into a phenomenal poem. I lost track of just how many times I thought some variation of, “Wow, I wish I’d written that” as I absorbed her words. And yet, that never would have been the same; Kat’s voice is so distinct, so captivating, that no matter how similar the words and images, someone else’s version of the same poems wouldn’t have the same effect.
The Poet Confronts Bukowski’s Ghost is a ghost itself. haunting its way through your own memories. So many times, a line or phrase would strike a chord within me and bring to life a forgotten memory. Giordano makes even the most specific instance of a feeling universal, which I’d argue makes a great poem all the better.
I recommend plenty of books, but this is one that will be at the top of my lists of suggestions for any reader with whom it will resonate—and that, I think, will truly be every reader.
About the Author
Kat Giordano is a poet and crybaby from Pennsylvania. She is one of two co-editors of Philosophical Idiot. Her debut full-length poetry collection, The Poet Confronts Bukowski’s Ghost, is currently available through Amazon, and her work has appeared in OCCULUM, CLASH Magazine, Ghost City Review, the Cincinnati Review, and others, as well as a variety of manic, late-night Facebook messages. She tweets @giordkat and shamelessly sells herself at katgiordano.com.