|About the Book|
Gerrit Komrij, The Straw That Breaks the Camels Back...? (Government of the Netherlands, 2000)Yes, you read that press right. This book was printed by the Government of the Netherlands for a UN conference about global warming, combining production stills from a film of the same name as the book with quatrains from the poet laureate of the Netherlands.The best thing I can say about it is that some of the pictures are really quite nice.The poetry is, of course, message poetry, and its very, very difficult to do message poetry well. In fact, its so close to impossible that “show, dont tell” is often the number one rule given to aspiring poets. The reason for that is that if you allow the message to become the medium, you tend to end up with unconscionably bad crap that sounds like it was written by an angst-ridden twelve-year-old whos just been dumped, pregnant, by her thirty-year-old sugar daddy/crack dealer. Even if you happen to be the Poet Laureate of a small European country.“The life of man revolves unceasing,Forever spinning round and round -Too short the time above the surface,Too long the time beneath the ground.”(--”Sleep”)Im pretty sure that even if such a contemptible figure as Susan Polis Schutz wrote something that cliched, shed burn it rather than sell millions of copies of it on one of her Blue Mountain specials. Even Satan has standards. The Government of the Netherlands, it would seem, does not. Half a star because, well, there were some pretty pictures.