Oct/Nov 2007  •   Reviews & Interviews

Inventions I: Fictions, Fusions & Poems

Review by Cicily Janus

Inventions I: Fictions, Fusions & Poems.
Carol Novack.
Recorded at Flooding Basement Studios. June 2007.

When are words not enough to place an uncomplicated description in the mind of a human? Right about now. The CD, Inventions I: Fictions, Fusions and Poems written and recited by Carol Novack, is a collection of works spanning the idioms of experimental poetry and prose.

Each piece is read with a steadfast voice and throughout the collection are enough ideas to stir the tower of deliberation within one's own mind. A fluidity of words from start to finish flow at once through your ideology of what prose is, was, and is not. Novack, who is also the founder and editor of Mad Hatters' Review (one of the Internet's best sites for multi-media presentations of literature, art, and music) entrances the listener with a fluting tone of voice rivaling a daze of accents lost and found amid the audiology of our overt-technological-sound-filled society.

Starting with a perspective of want, this CD presents itself as a groundbreaking collection of pieces, both published and not, side by side in perfect harmony with invisible seams tying them together. In track number one, "Destination," Novack sing-songs her way into a piece that begs for perspective in micro-tastes of trips, disguised as vignettes of the most experimental, trippy nature. My favorite flavors among the arrivals at Novack's Destination came from the first two stops:

They are connected to your heart with its longing to nest;
you are possessed with owning. You lose your perspective again and again,
wanting perspective, you are cursed.

Here again I have to walk on stones for bread; the bakers don't know me.
So I will move on. This is not a town, well not mine.
That is my perspective, not this.

Poetry, defined in the modern day literary circular movements, as a means of total and fulfilling expression, could be so much more. But would this even be considered poetry? Would Carol Novack even consider herself a poet of the world in which we live in now? I would say yes, but what I think she is doing, is much more innovative and sprightly in nature then the traditional schools of thought. Her works command a certain energy and amount of respect for the addition of words spliced and diced among sounds, music and the indescribable.

Novack's CD moves with oomph from one movement into another without prejudice. The second track is no different. A harmony of sound effects, paddling itself into the waters of its own rite, "Minnows" colors an expression of childhood cacophony between the fights we all have experienced. The "you're not doing it right... No, mine!" carves itself into a poetic stance of prose playing upon our human nature in the most un-basic way possible. Minnows of different names, colors, and in diverse situations combine to placate our senses into a wholly new world. Carol describes her Minnows as Vanilla; arriving in her Wonderbook, she colors them plum, mint green, tangerine and a whole host of flavors which the ordinary characters/rivals in her alternate universe could never imagine, and which eventually disappear like a jellyfish under a malignant moon...

Then there are the babies: "What to do with the Babies?" Should we ask Daddy what to do with the babies? Or should we ask the moon? But if the moon is not your breast and the babies have gills like wings, what on earth should one do? A very cool, for lack of a better word, sound effect background of every reverberation imagined within the context of her word tapestry only adds to this masterpiece of a woman's lament. This is almost a three-ring circus of breasts, moonshine, and babies swishing around in the wash.

They will lasso the babies if I don't keep watch.
And they will devour them, into those cool mouths they will go.

People say lots of things. If you listen to them,
you will stay under the table with the dogs.

To have an imagination composed of multiple interests of sound, sight, and prose to this extent is admirable. This collaboration continues into the fourth track, "Interview with Self," which mirrors emotional themes tied into the supposition of opening oneself into the self doubt of our basic expressions.

Novack plays upon the alliterations of metaphorical lexis with her line, "A mirror reflecting our reckless dull mirrors..."

But the creative workings of the turn of phrase don't stop. As an expert reader and interpreter of her own works, she heralds a continuation of tracks which come in one at a time until you cannot possibly ask for more. Track 5, "Same As", echoes in and out of your mind as a stereophonic device of conversations between the delusional and realist mother/daughter duo. In a hilarious rivalry of minds lost, the words spelled out tickle an absurdist's delight in word play; almost as if this could be a "Who's On First?" for the jaded members of the sandwich generation. Without a hitch, Novack masterfully dictates the daughter spelling out her anger for her mother's bad hearing:

S as in stinky
T as in torture
R as in rancid
O as in obfuscate
K as in kleptomaniac
E as in eggplant

Track 6 most interestingly follows suit with the hilarity in track 5. "Demonica" twists the Monica Lewinsky scandal in a demented outrage of expressions including "sucking up to great men," which blends the icons of our time into a fantastic work of political prose. Tracks 7-10 also follow suit for the uniqueness of this project, with works spanning topics such as the everyday blahness of our lives to the antics of fieldwork.

This CD of expression is of a savory nature, with flavor samples for all of the senses. And this gal of the world, can only remark that Carol Novack in her richness of thought is not of the world we consider our own. Listening to this CD is an experience only rivaled by that of experimental tracks in the snowy white lines on our screen and paper. It is time for the narrow ways of the literary world to cut the white noise out of their lives with the inventive mind of Novack's Fictions, Fusions and Poems.