The second installment of Revolution on Canvas may amount to Chicken Soup for the Tortured Soul, but in the end, reading is better than cutting.
Revolution on Canvas, Volume 2: Poetry from the Indie Music Scene
Edited by Richard Balling
In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby suffers the disillusionment of realizing the American Dream only to find himself feeling more hollow and empty than ever before. Jay largely suffers this experience silently and even the denouement-shattering epiphany of his last scene is wordless. Presumably, the emotions of Bobby Darling of Gatsbys [sic] American Dream are more finely wrought and therefore explicable in print. Unfortunately, like the rest of the writing in Revolutions on Canvas Volume 2, Darling's poem is mercilessly melodramatic, with a banal metaphor that warrants expulsion from any serious poetry workshop. The collection of poetry and fiction from various names in the indie music scene takes itself entirely too seriously. I didn't laugh or cry or feel anything deep down in my soul, but I did roll my eyes. A lot. I also found myself cursing Charles Bukowski and E.E. Cummings until I remembered that it's not their fault they spawned a generation of imitators who think anything with random line breaks, misused punctuation, and sensory language constitutes "poetry."
There's no shortage of irony in this anthology, starting with the editor's stated intent to make poetry accessible to the apathetic. It calls itself a survey of indie music, but some of the best indie lyricists of today—Dave Berman, Mark Kozelek, Colin Meloy, to name a few—are nowhere to be found. Instead, with work from people like Fall Out Boy's Peter Wentz and A Static Lullaby's Joe Brown, this book gives hope to kids scribbling bad poetry in notebooks that one day they, too, will be published poets. That said, people love this sort of stuff—it's how the emo corner of the indie rock world became popular in the first place. The second installment of Revolution on Canvas may amount to Chicken Soup for the Tortured Soul, but in the end, reading is better than cutting.