Staff Book Reviewer Jessica Maybury is a recent graduate of the MA in Writing programme from NUI, Galway, Ireland. Her work has appeared in Nth Word, Word Riot and Prick of the Spindle, among other places. Her Web site is jmaybury.blogspot.com.
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Neil de la Flor’s introduction to this collection of poetry sets the tone for what follows—it shifts form, identity and gender to fashion, something delicate and beautiful. This collection inhabits a place where nothing is fixed or static; everything seems to always be turning into something else. De la Flor quips at one stage that he just tried out homosexuality one summer because a friend had, and stayed with it because he liked it.
As with the poetry, he tells of a world populated by drag queens, transsexuals and straight-acting gay men with wives, of porn stars, of AIDS.
Almost Dorothy has de la Flor’s best friend Joey as a character who pops in and out of poems in a way that reminds me of Bret Easton Ellis’s recurring characters. De la Flor also has something of Bukowski about his line lengths in a way that feels at once familiar and also American. Biology references are rife, lending the collection an air of quasi-scientific sophistication. There is a sense that one can believe anything de la Flor tells them.
The title poem combines poetry and theatre, featuring a Halloween cross-dressing, with two boys costumed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, one a fully fledged Dorothy with a proper costume, another as ‘almost Dorothy’ in his mother’s cast-offs and his mother’s high heels.
day during recess, when all the 5-10 year olds played together,
we slipped behind the hedge behind the monkey bars and fled
the place we hated the most, the ordinary world.
The above lines could serve as a manifesto for the entire collection; there is nothing usual or ordinary about it. I was at turns charmed, surprised and laughing: I can only urge you to go, buy it, and be happy.
Official Neil de la Flor Web Site
Official Marsh Hawk Press Web Site