Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Complete Failure of Everything Jose Padua (2008)

The Complete Failure of Everything
Jose Padua
The Apathy Press Poets
Baltimore, MD

In addition to being a blogger on the subject of chapbooks, I am a publisher and I have been handed my share of Rap/ Spoken Word/ Slam poetry over the years. My response has been that most of the poets who work in this field ought not have a book but need a CD so that the "reader" can appreciate the work as it is performed. Mostly the poets who live in this world think of their work on the page as secondary to their performance of the work on stage. For cash prices. I remember the scene in the film 'Slam Nation" in which an editor at St. Martin's Press is commenting on the lack of sales worthiness that slam poets are on the page. I have to agree to a point. I haven't seen a book of poetry that does justice to the performative nature of a good Spoken Word poet.

This brings me to the wonderful poet Jose Padua who is not being served well by the 2008 chapbook The Complete Failure of Everything. The quality of the chapbook is minimal, to be kind. Jose needs a CD to capture him at his best. His voice is just incredible. His work when spoken makes the experience nearly perfect. On the page, on the page as presented by The Apathy Press, I would not be interested in his work. They don't present him well. If I didn't know who he was, I wouldn't bother finding out anything else about him. However, I do know his work and have heard him read and that experience is incredible! A must for any lover of poetry.

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