4 ¼” x 5 ½” chapbook
The Shave and a Haircut Poetry Series
Poor Souls Press/Scaramouche Books
PO Box 236
Millbrae, California 94030
Review originally published on 6/5/09
This is a nicely-printed, nicely-trimmed, professional-looking, short, thin, quarter-page, saddle-stapled book of one single poem, laid out in an artsy fashion to cover the pages. It blows my mind that this is 25¢, as a huge amount of the printing must be coming out of Paul’s (or another press owner’s) pocket, since just the colored cover alone is 25¢, not to mention the two stamps it took to mail it. So he isn’t making any money on it, which means it must be a labor of love (and made possible by a grant from the Charles J. Parrot Foundation, Chevy Chase, Maryland). You can tell that it is a labor of love by the delicate way it has been lovingly crafted from start to finish.
This consists of nice paper, nice printing, even a vellum sheet between the cover and inside pages; and big, fat typeface that stretches the words out so this one single poem fills the space, and even then, it’s only printed on small chunks of the page, front side only. So, yeah, mostly a novelty and a very quick read.
The poem, itself, is quite vague. I can’t entirely tell if it is even pro-Elvis or anti-Elvis, since I could easily read it with an angry tone or a sad tone and get two different emotional results. One thing is for certain, however: it is all about Elvis.
it’s not enough of Elvis
it’s just not enough
it’s not enough of Elvis whiskey decanters
Elvis toilet paper
Elvis impersonators singing Elvis songs
to Elvis fans [ … ]
There is a lingering question unanswered: I would like to know what’s not enough of Elvis? What is this unspecified “it”? To what is this dummy-pronoun referring? I can’t quite grasp its reference throughout the entire read, as the title line is used over and over. As I said, the poem’s quite vague, fairly loose, experimental while still maintaining sense within the individual lines, themselves, although nothing is really pieced completely together for you. You are left to decide what is not enough of Elvis and whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing and how it all affects the author. That’s not to say that that is a bad thing for the reader, necessarily. If you like more experimental, thematic, stream-of-consciousness work that is left up to interpretation, then this is for you.
After my favorite few lines:
[ … ]
we dig up the grave
and sell little envelopes of Elvis plots
we pulverize the casket
and market little vials of Elvis coffins
we auction off the corpse
and sell every last bone to the highest bidder [ … ],
Fericano begins listing Elvis parts being auctioned off to the world, which I think is the elusive reference to what’s not enough: every last part of Elvis sold, bought, and gone, and still we can’t get enough.
There, that was quite the analysis of one poem, cutely packaged and well put together into something that I’m sure Elvis lovers (or haters?) will find pleasing. The poem is enjoyable; the price is certainly right; and the author is pleasant. You can’t go wrong for a quarter, and you can easily stick this book inside a card as a great novelty gift for an Elvis lover.