Controlling Chaos: A Hybrid Poem by Michael Estabrook

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Publication Date: July 14, 2022

Publisher: Atmosphere Press

Genre: Poetry

ISBN: 9781639884544

List Price: $15.00 Trade Paperback

Page Count: 130

Author interview

Estabrook’s intriguing latest collection is a mix of shimmering moments and baffling structures. The arrangement of the book appears to be autonomous, with sentences, statements, stanzas, paragraphs, and prose arranged in indiscernible order, but everything is subtly threaded together. in “TGIF: Thank Goodness It’s Friday,” he repurposes the time’s transitory nature into a poetic sequence that delves into old family memories. The sequence “Dear Sylvia Plath,” a slightly melancholic short block of prose, unravels an old family tragedy while delving into Plath’s tragic suicide: “I wish I could’ve known you. I’m convinced I could’ve saved you from your untimely death, all alone in your kitchen, dying just like my maternal grandmother who also decided she had had enough and couldn’t take it anymore.” Covering topics from fragments to Ragged Tooth Shark, Woolly Mammoth, pandemic, Shakespeare, Ulysses, Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, existentialism, technology, philosophical ideas, God and the Devil to logizomechanophobia and zelophobia, the book taps into life’s everyday moments, world history, people, ideas, and human condition: ”Though the Pandemic has you stuck inside –/ nowhere to go nothing to do –/ you try to remain positive, looking to the bright side/ putting on a happy face, keeping your chin up…” Drawing on autobiographical detail, Estabrook skillfully probes the human condition, inspiring readers to expand consciousness of their surroundings. Witty, original, and engrossing.

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