Chainsaw Poems and Other Poems by Giacomo Pope brings a new and profound collection of both long and short poems, colliding into this body of work. Most would associate chainsaws with destructions but in Pope’s work, chainsaws are associated with construction: construction of conversational visuals and the intentional comedic point of view. Pope has taken a strong position to remain uninhibited and prophetically unkempt in a masterful way.
“An Eternity of Shrinking” is a standout piece due to its naturally vulnerable and raw nature that speaks volumes to the feeling of loneliness. At times, I felt as if the intent for the Chainsaw poems were lost on me and almost as if there were several voices holding the pen at once. As a reader, I immediately thought this was an active choice to explore a tangential thought process through poetry.
The quote “Stop being a pussy” pushed a sharp breath out of me for it did not settle with me as a woman and it is read as heteronormative but it served its purpose as a decorative addition to the deprecating self-talk we construct in our heads.
The poem, “Can I hold your hand” resonated with me because Pope does an immaculate job of taking a small moment and illustrating it in a delightful manner that brings the readers to feel and to imagine that moment alongside Pope. Overall, Chainsaw Poems and Other Poems is hauntingly dizzy, comically intriguing, and bold in its integrity. I would recommend this collection if you enjoy poems that balance comedy and emotion precariously.
Review by Marinna Benzon