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Fritz Hamilton:

5976 Billings Road
Parkdale OR, 97041

25 pp., $2.50

Ten poems devoted to the testimony of helplessness, dereliction, and addiction. The characters are winos, a Vietnam vet, and a woman amidst family tragedy. Their stories are combined into a Beat-Rant style similar to a subjective Gonzo Journalism where Hamilton has immersed himself in the scene, becomes deeply involved, and passionately spews out the frustration and anger in long, unpunctuated, rants; with long flowing cadences and repetitions. There is a touch of divine nothingness here as it appears all are abandoned, trapped within a life of selfdestruction and decay. Jesus in a Detox Center, and a dead wino in a plastic bag waiting for the garbage truck to pick him up are just two examples of the frightening symbolism here. The connotations are not subtle,and futility is the icon of repetition. This poetry is dark and depressing, evoking fears of failure with visions of street people as powerful as a national disaster. This then is why No Difference is an important work. It has the ability to draw the reader into the scene, this device creates a potent self-awareness. For example these lines: "Old Joe Corbett sleeping/ on a pile of plastic/ garbage bags filled/ with winos' souls..."--R.R. Lee Etzwiler

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This review originally appeared in TapRoot Reviews #2,
Copyright Burning Press 1993, 1995.

Contact the editor, luigi-bob drake, at Burning Press