Monday, June 27, 2011

Stabbed in Stanzas Book Review: Love Craft by Bryan D. Dietrich

Love Craft
Bryan D. Dietrich

Reviewed by Karen L. Newman

Remember the old adage of too much of a good thing? Let me refresh your memory: If you drink too much alcohol, you pass out, get sick, and have a hangover; if you eat too much candy, you get a tummy ache; if you read Love Craft (Finishing Line Press, 2010) by Bryan D. Dietrich, you get sick of poetry. Harsh, I know. There is so much alliteration and consonance that its usage seems forced and the work trite, as in an example from the poem “The Whisperer in Darkness”

Bewitched by Wacky Packs, by the Wonder
Bread creature card series, each with tormented taglines,
stats on the back, bewitched and transfixed

The poem borders on the ridiculous, and thus losing any serious message to the reader. Dietrich tries so hard that it appears he’s hiding a lack of talent, but that’s not true. A few poems are outstanding, such as “Necromancy”. The first stanza is

Okay, we love the dead. But when do they stop calling?
We left a message, yes, expecting at least a token
response, but not this, not the constant carillon, ring
tones axing us open, tearing us up, interrupting
what dreams we’ve been allowed, spilling sleep
like a thick sick. Stew of all we thought was gone.

Dietrich’s use of humor offsets the dark mood of the piece. Although he uses alliteration and consonance, the poem doesn’t lose meaning or effect, but contributes to the overall overuse of the poetic devices in the book.
The collection is divided into three parts, ‘The Tomb’, ‘The Temple’ and ‘The Book of the Dead’. Dietrich utilizes Lovecraftian ideals without the tentacles and transfers them to modern families. He tackles such subjects as divorce, mental illness, and childhood memories of watching television. The lives of these families are made the more pitiful with the memories indexed like a horror film. The reader almost feels sympathy.
Love Craft offers fresh representation of old ideals that doesn’t quite hit the mark.

--Karen L. Newman