blackest-ever-holeSomeone smart once said “there is no such thing as bad music, you just didn’t listen to it at the right time of your life.” Poetry feels that way to me. I can’t enjoy it on demand. Either it makes an impression or it doesn’t. Blackest Ever Hole definitely made an impression. Maybe not the Blackest Ever Impression, but I will remember it.

If “Brian O’Blivion” sounds like a fake name, then know that it’s published by gnOme Books, who release all their books anonymously. I’m not sure why they do this. Maybe they feel that fame is antiethical to art. All their books are published under bizarre, made up names – in this case, a character from David Cronenberg’s cult movie Videodrome.

It’s a book of free verse, rather similar to Baudelaire’s famed Flowers of Evil. But the world now is much more alienated and decadent than Baudelaire’s time, and Blackest Ever Hole is correspondingly more disturbed. Themes of disassociation, despondency, and existential crisis appear, with descriptions of physical realities that might be alien landscapes or scenes from right next door. What BEH makes you feel is hard to tell. But it will make you feel something.

In school, as a boy, he was shown a colorful
chart, broken into parts, each integratively
working together to demonstrate a single fact:
the world holds 300 pounds of insects for every
pound of human flesh

The vocabulary is large but not showy – sometimes small words say more. There’s not a lot of consistency between one poem and another. Some are sparse and spare, leading you from idea to idea like going down a ladder rung by rung. Others are dense, entangling you in dark nets of words. The overall style remains the same, but it’s hard to mistake one of the poems in this book for any other.

It’s a short book, a little more than 75 pages, but it’s definitely worth checking out, as are most of the things gnOme publishes. It succeeds in its goal: blanketing the reader in ennui and discontent. Don’t expect “highbrow” poetry, but this book indeed buries you in a dark hole…and there’s still enough light to read.

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