Over at the OC Weekly, Andrew Tonkovich in his weekly books column, OC Bookly, profiles a new book, Camouflage for the Neighborhood by Orange County poet Lorene Delaney-Ullman.
Winner of the 2011 Sentence Award from Firewheel Editions, Orange County local Lorene Delany-Ullman's Camouflage for the Neighborhood is both a collection of deceptively simple short prose poems and, all together, a resonating, provoking, deeply sad long-lifetime of a narrative in pieces. It is an indictment of history and memory, not to mention a camouflage itself. It is a small book, seventy-one paragraph-sized glimpses, gasps, moments and stories of lives in the familiar war zone of our county and beyond, told with the permanent melancholy and honest, unyielding curiosity--and I choose my words carefully here--required in order to examine what Gore Vidal called life in the permanent garrison state. Which is not to say that these poems (perhaps one long poem, together) are particularly anti-war or only about war, but, like McPhee's sweet book [Oranges], a meditation.
To read the rest of the review, click here.
Here's an untitled poem from the collection:
Through the Second World War, my grandmother, Thelma,
and her sister, Valgene, worked the swing shift at the
Chrysler plant. They wore the cleanest overalls, afternoon-
fresh make-up, perfect hair donning hairnets. And left the
children to take care of the children. They didn't know
they were making history. One mishap: a hot rivet fell, and
glanced Thelma's forehead long enough to embed a piece
of a B-29 bomber above her brow. My mother remembers
this - Aunt Valgene brought her home in the middle of the
night - that small bit stayed with her.