Stephen Oliver. Deadly Pollen. Middletown, NJ: Word Riot Press, 2003. [Book review]

2017-05-17T11:16:47Z (GMT) by Chris Danta
<p>The movement which takes an historical event – the bombing of the Sari Nightclub in Bali on October 12, 2002 – into the “slipstream above the stratosphere” is also the movement of transtasman poet Stephen Oliver’s admirable 2003 chapbook: <i>Deadly Pollen</i>. To be more precise, two movements dominate here. The first sends history into the stratosphere: “Time passes – that pressure in space again” (Poem 7). According to the second movement, the laws of Newtonian physics reassert themselves and there are so many particular things that fall: sand, dust, snow, “star flecks, nova spittle” (Poem 26). Earthly bombing becomes nova explosion. The poem’s perspective expands until it collapses under its own metaphysical weight into an even smaller, even more constricted <i>topos</i>: “in an emptied / space within a space caved under” (Poem 2). This is the cosmic claustrophobia characterising the sequence of thirty-one granular poems making up the (w)hole of “Deadly Pollen”.</p>