September 6, 2007

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A Bedroom Occupation: Love Elegies, by Mark Scott (Lumen Books, 2007, 62 pages)
Reviewed by Dan Szczesny dszczesny@hippopress.com

When Mark Scott speaks of love in A Bedroom Occupation, it is certainly not the kind of love Browning or Neruda had in mind. At times darkly funny, at other times angry and vengeful, Scott’s love is like a scar you are proud of and show off at parties. It hurt like hell when you got it, but now it’s kind of neat. And if not romantic love, there is a certain playfulness that comes through in these 34 prose-form poems.

In poem 24, two out-of-work teachers consider becoming prostitutes and amuse themselves with finding similarities between the two professions. In poem 5, the narrator must contend with giving a student a massage in front of a class. And in poem 10, the narrator considers the Zen of being alone: “Only one thing in my life I planned, Lewis, one goal: this — and to be in bed alone / when I want at night, and not when I don’t.”

A Bedroom Occupation is not poetry to read to a new lover, but rather to a partner you’ve been with for many many years. Scott’s poetry is sometimes ugly, always raw and rarely romantic, but then again so is love. B — Dan Szczesny