review of Welcome Home by Samuel Wharton

“hearts are scattered everywhere” — Welcome Home by Samuel Wharton
NeO Pepper Press, 2007

reviewed by Jane Joritz-Nakagawa

Samuel Wharton is the editor of the experimental poetry blogzine SAWBUCK
( When I heard that Samuel had
published a chapbook, I wrote and asked him if he would like to exchange
books with me (his for my book Skin Museum that was published in Tokyo in
2006). In this way I managed to receive this wonderful book of poems . . .

Welcome Home is a 32 page limited edition chapbook containing 13 poems, two
of which appeared previously in the ezines foam:e ( and
Otoliths (

In these poems we find a world falling apart, and a person struggling to
make meaning from the pieces as the pieces and their witness are about to be
carried away, as in the following excerpt from & Then What Happened?:

& Stripes Forever exploded via radio covering our eyes
we waited for our borders to shift again stars exploded

over homes & then someone turned a page & then we forgot
our orders someone said:               
bought & sold

at a bazaar our coins clinking at the ready covering our
a lullaby through the trees parts were scattered everywhere

In La Pensee Sauvage the reader again encounters a world out of control:

. . . splash of the galaxy spilling out across the sky
I ask for parsley to cool my breath settle

my stomach I need you to hear the screams
of planes heading to the airshow like I do

. . .

that rises & falls rises & falls around a stadium
no: I need to seek meaning more effectively . . .

In a similar vein, the poem Fictions ends:

this is the heart of the story of the story: the machine of history has
no history

has no meaning except as a river rushing away with our things

while Independence Day, Drowning begins:

you do not fool the water though you may dirty it
this is the law of the water the law of the glittering

surface the murky depths the opposition &
the dialogue between how each is necessary

The NeO Pepper Press can be found at An
interview with Samuel Wharton can be read online at the Ploughshares blog:

I’m looking forward to seeing more from this press and from this author.