Sunday, November 20, 2011

Night Chant by Andrew Demcak — Review

First, an editorial issue, and then on to the poems.

I purchased (a month ago now) Night Chant by Andrew Demcak (ebook at Smashwords) to read on my NOOK and iPod Touch and noted a problem that is common with ebook versions of poetry books: Longer lines are not indented when they need to wrap (reflow) to the next line. When they are indented properly, the reader can easily distinguish one line from the next (as they obviously can in the print edition). But this is easily solved. All one has to do is to add two lines to the class selector that wraps lines in the source. (In this case, EPUB, and the class selector happened to be ".western8", and I added them after the ".margin-top: 0;" line):

padding-left: 1em;
text-indent: -1em;

What does this do? When lines are longer and they need to wrap, the line continues by being indented slightly rather than flushed margin left (and looking like they are the beginning of a new line, which they aren't). When you change the font size reading the poems on your device, you will see what I mean.

I did this and can now can pleasurably read these poems on my iPod Touch, which they are now perfectly fitted for.

And these poems are fun to read. Lines of gay-sexual intrigue abound. Like in the poem 'Hustler': "The tattling ripples of rolled-in sheets. / My limbs are golden accoutrements. // Persuasive, served like sashimi." These are the poet's memories of men and sex and becoming. "My first sex, spread-eagle on a tern's nest" ('Abalone Cove'). I like self-referential 'Font': "It is a merciless desert here, this page. / The nouns wince, jot by jot." Pop-cultural references, like in 'Death Portrait of Gene Kelly'. Sexy poems, like 'Eros'. Bringing in technology, like "My iPhone spits out nubile syllables, / his voice chattering back to the bones' receiver" ('Pulse'). At the end of Part 2 is the poem 'Night Chant' itself.

If you are a fan of gay poetry, this is a must-read. It has everything, I think.