Is he talking about botany or…hmmm…ahhh…well now. Rife and ribald, his disjunctive prose-poem forms contain stimulation for all five senses. Jumping off the page in explorations of joined oppositions, the richly worded poems reveal beyond-intimate experiences of the physical world, exposing snapshots of human experience and relationships with nature. Personal-impersonal juxtapositions, syntactic structure and randomness appear here to express primal-scream poetry.
Each page sets a prose poem atop a sly and sensuous moss-like footer that unfolds at the bottom of each page, giving its own experience of winkand-nudge word play. The book becomes a distraction in itself, tempting the reader to peek ahead, disregarding proper book-reading etiquette.
With Smith’s irresistible wordplay and a deep and complex poetic sensibility, Fluttertongue 5 is a rich, rewarding and delightful read.
Smith's short prose narratives are woven through simple declarative statements and occasional interrogatives, but subverted by interruption and indeterminacy. Each word and tone is a precise stroke of the fluid present transforming into 'idea.' Life's lived-in moments - watching sparrows, sipping latte, listening to Etta James, agonizing over our violations to the natural and social environment. Read, re-read, re-heard, meanings and revelations form with luminous clarity. In this latest and richest book in Fluttertongue, his innovative serial project, Smith confirms that he, as much as any writer, perpetuates the legacy left by bpNichol and The Martyrology.
Blessed with a savvy eye and a sound ear, Steven Ross Smith turns verse with a sure hand. Each poem is a splendid meditation that makes brilliant abracadabra out of the bric-a-brac of everyday pleasures and perils. Smith names debts to Ashbery and Willis, but his prose lyrics are also Beat-ific, reminding one of Bob Dylan's Tarantula and Richard Brautigan's Trout Fishing in America. Sho nuf. Bottom line? Smith's poems are top-o-the-line. Hear: "Every day a new poet is discovered by a different reader who meets a resonant sensibility, through strange."
George Elliott Clarke
Fluttertongue 5: everything appears to shine with mossy splendour is a bricoleurs dark dreaming, a continuous act of dis/covery as the mind wanders out from its impetus, those phrases another poet wrote that pushed one reader to write on, out. Although, or perhaps because, each section moves in a deliberate & playful parataxis, a formal play that refuses any conventional narrative while sentence by sentence hooking the (writers & readers) mind into that narrative of poesis Kroetsch & Nichol have spoken of in reference to the long poem, this is a deeply engaging work. A profound pleasure. Smith continues to surprise, delight, provoke.
Douglas Barbour, Eclectic Ruckus Blog
[There is an] undergrowth that resides beneath the book's more covert desires. Language is illuminated in a spore-like fashion: poems grow within poems, words within words, and a new meaning takes hold.
Winnipeg Free Press
[In Fluttertongue 5,] one word, sound or idea knocks into another like snooker balls as Smith self-consciously lets his words be words having fun, while also making serious commentary on the nature of human desire, domestic life and work, our weakness for war and money, and the sad sate of the natural world that often gets in the way of such weakness
...this is a deeply engaging work. A profound pleasure. Smith continues to surprise, delight, provoke.
Eclectic Ruckus Blog
Turnstone Press acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Government of Canada, and the Province of Manitoba through Manitoba Sport, Culture and Heritage.