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Improvisations - Poetic Impression From Contemporary Music

 

Improvisations: How appropriately named. Spontaneous, surprising, not knowing what to expect next…and yet so fluid, like a well worked out serial melody of Schoenberg or Webern. Its like listening to Keith Jarrett improvising on the piano in front of thousands.

Powerful, strong, edgy, conversations with self looking in the mirror, recalling scenes from his past, blurring the line of memory and fantasy. And yet, a trace of a romantic?

I close my eyes and listen…well, not much progress reading with eyes closed. So I open them and keep reading. Extraordinary work! Congratulations!!!

                    Michael Lebovitch  . . . April 2016


Music and poetry are such good therapeutic resources and Roger definitely captures both of these in his book. I found myself completely glued to this book, the author's voice and message is very powerful and it definitely got my attention! I received this book in exchange for a honest review. I will be using this book for not only my research in recreational therapy, but also for my own pure enjoyment. This author definitely keeps his audience glued to his poems.

 

                   TDC – Book Reviews (5/2016)

 

It's Only TV

 

A new Roger Aplon book of poetry is always an event to be celebrated. And so I am celebrating IT’S ONLY TV, Aplon’s selected poems, 2005-2011. Roger Aplon never disappoints. His Surrealistic stories. His astonishing use of language. His superb irony. All are in play in the title poem, “It’s Only TV.” And what a beautiful metaphor! When reality and fantasy are intertwined, one inseparable from the other, what better metaphysical humor than to say, “Let it go...It’s only TV.” Aplon’s poems read like Surreal reality TV. The section “It’s Only TV” gives us an old man in the poem “Across the Street” where “Nothing is as it seems.” The section also gives us “The Man Who Lives Underground” “excavating vein-by-vein, what’s left of his salvation – his brief refuge & his/silent hell.” And also “The Part of The Gypsy Girl” which “will be played by her twin, the one with one brown eye & one blue.”

 

Along with his Surreality TV, Aplon’s lines are individual poems in themselves. Aphorism builds on aphorism to give us a story which is both told and interpreted by the reader, or re-created by the reader. “The Woman Who Sleeps With The Devil” is a good example. “The Usual Suspect” is another favorite. Aplon’s prose poem, “I Saw Her Through The Mist” is incredible. It’s like a novel told in several lines. The wonderful thing about a Roger Aplon book is experiencing a rare adventure: finding poems you can really get inside of.

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                   Tony Moffeit: Editor, Writer & Poet - March 2013


Intimacies

This is an amzing collection.  It illustrates Aplon's creativity and imagination and no one, absolutely no one has a voice like his.

Not for Everyone . . . it's anything but mainstream, but those who do find it and are willing to turn themselves over to the logic of these stories, and the wonder therein, are in for a memorable ride!

               - Judy Reeves: Author

               A Writer's Book of Days

The Man With His Back To The Room

The Man with His Back to the Room is a collection of poems that captivates the reader with its unique style of free verse and touch of avant-garde.

"The arms that wave from the windows are black& the cats that roam the street are black & there are black beards & black hands & black market toys& you’ve blackened the windows & shut my eyes…”

Down to earth and expressive, these selected poems bring reality and life (which reflect his Barcelona setting) through dynamic images and language.

“The man in the gray hat
has a pawn ticket in his pocket & a memory of suicide.

In winter he carries a gun & news of religious sacrifice.”

For lovers of modern free verse with a fresh approach—you can’t go wrong with this one.

                   Wayne Adam - Curl Up With A Good Book

    

For me the "daybook" pieces are like a surreal diary of anguished grief. Some of the images almost make one cringe. Very, very powerful. . . Many of the others . . . are a  descent into an inferno that makes Dante's journey look like a summer picnic.

                  Ron Offen - Editor & Publisher: Free Lunch

                  Last Book: Off-Target

 

Many of these poems deal with painful and shadowy material.

Some feel improvised and pulled toward the disparate and wild. Yet Aplon unifies them with a wave-like pulse, often stretched and held, an audible unevenness that comes alive as one reads.

The images don't slow and regard themselves; rather, they keep moving, like field binoculars surveying a scene.  Phrases that end with the & (the ampersand) push forward with renewing energy—the way a dream unfolds by attaching new, more complicating strangeness.

And, while some of these poems relate to, and delight in, the tangential, they don’t appear random. I especially like those that turn and discover themselves and their meanings at the end—like the exquisite title poem.  This is a book to treasure.                          

              - Thomas Larson - Author: The Memoir and the

            Memoirist: Reflections on a New Literary Form

Ohio University Press / 2007


Barcelona Diary
". . . a read tour de force of craft and care, with an ear honed to the sharpness of sounds and an eye absolutely focused."
"...a marvelous book of marvels and luminous moments...a flowering of intelligence and experience."
".[Aplon] gives us the 'place' of the place, so that it becomes a world in us."
                 - Joe Stroud
                   Last book: Below Cold Mountain 

". . . you can open it to any page and find something unique and evocative...the book is a classic."
"I just opened it to #80 'Albrecht Durer: An Exhibition' and find the piece to be incredibly provocative: a creative writing teacher could use [it] as a beautiful model."
                 - Tony Moffeit
                   Last book: Billy the Kid & Frida Kahlo

"Its vigor and range so engage me . . . in proximity, or taken together, they [these 'entries'] form a kind of 'Song of Myself,' a grand forum that contains observations, feelings, memories and their interpretations - [all] influenced by [its] music."
          - Merrill Leffler
          Poet, Editor, Publisher & Co-Founder of Dryad Press

It's Mother's Day 
"Poems like...'The Woman Whose Skin's' represent some of the most engaging of Aplon's work. They borrow certain elements of primitive mythologies, and so doing, take one to levels of intellectual and poetically formal excitement that one always wishes for in writing of any kind, but especially in poetry."
". . . there is life in these poems. It's an eventful ride from beginning to end.  The detours are compelling ('O Yeah!), the tolls worth paying ('I Carry the Dead'), the rewards genuine ('Means')."
". . . poetically dynamic, it leaves one, ultimately, spinning [and] that's the idea."

                 - Mike Amato, Editor:
No Exit
                   Winter 1998

By Dawn's Early Light at 120 Miles per Hour 
"A homage to the power of the imaginative mind."
"There is a playfulness with the language, a reality in which art and experience are inseparable pieces of an aesthetic."
"The book is a symphony of Americana."
                 - Shelby Stephenson
                   
The Pilot
                   Southern Pines, North Carolina  

". . . the single most striking fact about this book is the range of its voice."
". . . themes of destruction, survival, transformation, and escape."
". . . the danger of By Dawn's Early Light is that the poems are so seamless, so carefully composed, that the reader will be insulated from the violence that lies (along with love) at the heart of Aplon's universe."
". . . there is a tremendous kinship with and affection for the reader."
                 - Edward Smallfield  
                  
Small Press Review
                   San Francisco

Stiletto
"Lust and love to save the best in us (the life in us) from the economic, military and legal systems we die from."
". . . tough exactness about the mixed pain/pleasure of this survival life."
". . . a sense of truth, unglamourized menace, intensifying lust/love/life and truth = Stiletto."
"Admiration for the book."                        
                 - Milton Kessler
                   State University of New York at Binghamton
                   Department of English  

"In Stiletto we encounter an art based in head on collision."
"As with all good jazz, these poems put you in strange places, and the only true measure is the music as it passes through you.  I recommend this book to everybody, but don't blame me if your own language tastes strange after you read it."
". . . some of the best political-surrealist writing of the sixties and early seventies."
                 - Edward Smallfield
                  
Small Press Review
                   San Francisco

"Aplon, who has a particular gift for enjambing images and using line-ends as devices to modulate velocity, is primarily concerned with commonplace items, which makes this book somehow deceptive; the poems work almost mnemonically; one remembers how they 'feel' much more than what they say.  Stiletto represents a poetic maturity, almost a phrophesy.  Read it."
                 - Denis Boyles
                  
North East Rising Sun
                   Cherry Valley Editions