decomP Editor-in-Chief Jason Jordan has a large red beard. Visit him (and his beard) at his blog.
Jamie Iredell’s Prose. Poems. a Novel. (2009) consists of the author’s previous chapbooks Before I Moved to Nevada (Publishing Genius Press), When I Moved to Nevada (Greying Ghost Press), and When I Moved to Atlanta (Paper Hero Press) conveniently combined in a 108-page volume, recently published by Chicago-rooted Orange Alert Press.
Arguably, other than the fact that Larry, the narrator, is growing out of football and heavily into drugs and alcohol, PPaN contains no stated, overarching plot and it doesn’t need one, because the reader, as casual observer of the events therein, will be pleased with the engaging, place-based vignettes that make up the book as a whole. What’s most impressive is the language—the verbs and phrases Iredell skillfully utilizes such as “sharks missile-cruise the forested kelp for seals” (23), “its post gonging our noggins” (25), “desiccated scoreboard flag wiggled atop an Impala that doughnutted the fifty-yard line” (27), and many, many more instances of finely tuned prosetry. Also notable is the characterization, because the characters are vivid and believable, yet sparsely described. For example, “When it fired, a tiny Hiroshima cauliflowered in the air and its target disintegrated. Bob laughed and said, ‘I love killing shit’” (55). And it wouldn’t be wise for him to dwell on any one character too long, because they often exit as quickly as they (re)enter. Occasionally Iredell will drift into telling when he could be showing, but this practice results in little consequence here.
Christy Call’s art adds to the overall presentation, but several pieces—the black bear on 18, the buck on 40, and the .357 on 56 and 57—outshine the others. Still, personal preference aside, the visuals are a welcome element, even if some feel tacked onto page bottoms when they could’ve been integrated in a different manner.
While Iredell’s latest is light on a traditional, tension-filled plot—I love me a good plot—it’s an overwhelming success that I find completely engrossing. Highly recommended.
Official Jamie Iredell Web Site
Official Orange Alert Press Web Site