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Home | Books | Book Reviews | Book Review: Chimeric Machines – Author Lucy A. Snyder

Book Review: Chimeric Machines – Author Lucy A. Snyder

Written by Lucy A. Snyder
Published by Creative Guy Publishing
Publication Date: 2009
Format: B&W – 92 pages
Price: $10.95

“You sigh, suffer mutely, stare
at the tube, pray for the weather
and ponder the razor.”

Sometimes, as someone with a varied taste in my word soups, I find myself in a bit of a quagmire as a reviewer. After all, this is a horror site and you, the fine readership of said site expect reviews of material that fits that particular niche. So I have to ask myself: what the hell business do I have reviewing a book of gawdamn POETRY here? And why This particular book? Does it fit? But a look at the above quote (from “Sofa Nervosa”) stifles those questions in a second. Work this raw, bleeding and screeching from the pages sure as hell better be considered horror or I have wasted my geekdom looking in all the wrong places.

So what is it exactly that we have here? Lucy starts the thing off by defining both “Chimeric” and “Machines” in a move that might be a tad condescending but fondly reminded me of the brief fad among Death Metal band shirts in the early-mid nineties and doesn’t particularly clarify the issue for the reader anyways. Of course, that is the point. It is a puzzle, a game, a mystery of words and she knows perfectly well that whatever configuration you place the pieces in, whatever solution you develop amid the fog will come more from you than her and she seems to be embracing that. The fun part is that the poems located within it do exactly the same thing.

Tom Piccirilli (if you don’t know him, shame on you!), during the introduction, points out that the title is the first thing that matters in any work, that it is what draws the reader to that work and Lucy shows a unique talent at crafting these. I must admit that I couldn’t help jumping to pieces like “Searching for Signs of Life at the Bottom of a Cup of Cold Coffee”, “Squidliquor”, “The Monster Between the Sparks” and “Tech Support”. Then the substance kicked in and, whoo-puppy was I in trouble. Her poetry is powerful, honest, playful and somehow manages to pull off being simultaneously direct and ephemeral. It bleeds and curses and tears at its own skin while bashing the walls with its head, screeching in crimson and white; laughing the whole time.

Abject horror fans, even ones that claim to hate poetry, stand a large chance of losing bowel and bladder control when encountering works like “Beggar’s Night” (written with Gary Braunbeck), a look at one of our favorite nights of the year. Then there is the cenobite-esque S/M fantasy flowing quick and rotten through Greek mythology in “Prometheus”. Or the dark, stark world of Crete, Kentucky as drawn in the empty lives of it’s residents (pay special note to “Terror White”). And I do believe that I just stepped into an ode to that mad fiddler of the empty reaches. Blood flows freely here,my friends.

However, as much as I love every f*cking poem up in this piece (and I do), I see a bit of a problem growing out of her own contradictions. Lucy walks a fine line, especially during the first portion of the book, “Technica”. It is clear that she despises the haughty artifice, aristocratic arrogance and exclusionary attitude that are usually inseparable from all things Literary. Much of this section is a direct attack and her rage is palpable but she cannot seem to keep from engaging in the same obfuscation tactics herself, which will certainly alienate much of the general reading public as well.

At the same time, this is not the first time she has walked dangerous, uncertain roads with her work and I hope it will not be the last. We need more people with gigantic swinging ovaries of solid brass (or balls when sex-appropriate) willing to smack us in the face like this.

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