Pornograph by Jonathon Wilcke

Pornograph by Jonathon Wilcke is a book I came across by accident as I was browsing through publisher’s website. The title, cover, and description sounded really interesting so I placed my order. This is collection of poems and prose poems that explore the human body and, as you may have guessed by the title,  our sexuality and sexual experiences. This is one of the most eclectic and spacey collections I have read in a long time. It has a similar feeling to some of the writings of bp Nichol, but, unfortunately, it simply missed the mark for me.

This short collection is about 50 percent verse 50 percent prose poems. In many of the pieces the author uses some elements of concrete poetry including varying fonts and sizes, arrangement of lines, and creative punctuation. The book is divided up into a few longer sequences made up of short staccato parts. The poems do not necessarily follow a straight-forward linear word flow. Many poems are mash-ups of various words designed to invoke an image or feeling.

I read a lot more poetry than the average reader and I like to think that I have a good grasp on understanding and interpreting the genre. When I finished Pornograph I was left thinking “what just happened”. This collection is very post-modern, in fact I would argue that this book is farther out in left-field than typical po-mo poetry. Every line in this book feels like it is overtly strange for its own sake. If you read the verse poems orally it does help a bit more understanding the wordplay but even then, it is a bit of a stretch.

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