Fractalcosm: By Jeffrey LaPrade, 180 pgs. By Craven Rock

The poetry in this book isn’t bad. It really isn’t. It has a lot to do with navigating life through societal pressure and bullshit to find one’s true path by embracing chaos and the unknown, the esoteric and metaphysical. It was not always brilliant or elegant, but neither was it without warmth or charm. It was unpretentious, rough around the edges but pleasant, and I’d even say a bit life-affirming once you get into the groove of it. I could see the right audience really digging it. The problem lies how it would find its audience.

In an introduction, he describes the book as the contents of four years of notebooks and it looks just like that, four years of notebooks retyped, uncut and unedited. Each page is an average of two but sometimes even three poems crammed onto a page in an unbearable font, without page numbers, chapters, or anything to break things up. And there are 180 pages here, too, quite a bit for a virtually unknown poet to ask of a reader. I’ve spent less time on poets I’m a longtime fan of.

This collection could have been broken up into many attractive, eye-catching chapbooks and I think I would have enjoyed reading one of these rather than feeling like I had a chore to do. I would have granted more time and rumination to each piece because they would seem more distinct and significant rather than something from a bunch of retyped notebooks. It’s too bad, really, because there’s some quality stuff here and Jeffrey LaPrade seems like a good dude, a deep thinker who’d be good to have in your corner when you’re trying to figure stuff out. –Craven Rock (No address listed)