Dave Drayton Reviews Carmine Frascarelli and Mark A Peart

By | 24 October 2016

There are newspaper clippings (to the point of distraction – surely, the point being the point); borrowed lines from Frank Sinatra, Eva Figes and Ezra Pound, among others; and a bibliography boasting over fifty sources. But just as Frascarelli finds and/or (re)frames the poetry in these assorted sources, he sources it, too, from places much harder to cite. The gold gas light of the Passages couverts de Paris is gone, the hydrogen replaced with headlights, halogen and neon. Here is a NO VACANCY sign in ‘#7’, borrowed from a Park Street Best Western and partially lit by its caption: ‘all those beaming cars’. Here is a graffitied sign reading BRUNSWICK TOWN HALAL nearby a ‘rope-light-lit kebab stand’, the alliterative double-hyphen showing the glowing scene. The little figures that live in light boxes, indicating when to cross the road, now occupy the pages of the final poem, ‘#47’.

There’s equal chance of encountering a commemorative plaque, a politically charged placard and a promo for parma night. These elements recall the work of photographer Matt Siber, whose The Untitled Project consists of photographs of streetscapes and other urban areas stripped of their text, which is presented out of context but true to scale and relative composition, accompanying the altered photo on a white background. According to Siber, ‘the project explores the manifestation of power between large groups of people in the form of public and semi-public language.’ This is the also skill of Frascarelli, to capture occurrences of power and people in public, as though the concrete of the city might always be just damp enough to dip a finger into and mark.

In ‘#47’, there appears a house built upon four stilts that read: ‘the pillar; the post; the plinth; the prop’. The eaves read to and from the pinnacle: ‘testaments; memorials’. And between these two the roof: ‘homo erector’. Frascarelli, an artist and maker of furniture as well as a poet, is concerned with the town(mis)planning of place, and with how to render this as palimpsest on the page. Frascarelli’s briccolage poetry gestures toward the ecology of arterial roads, how they are constructed from renovation and erasure. The raising / razing of landmarks, localities and legends, creatures and cultures, repeats as though a road is best defined by the movement it supports.

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