CHANGE MACHINE by Bruce Covey reviewed by J.G. McClure • Cleaver Magazine
CHANGE MACHINE by Bruce Covey Noemi Press, 122 pages reviewed by J.G. McClure Think about the change machine outside your car wash: you put in a dollar, the machine spits out coins. Not a neat bundle, but a jangling tray-full. Now think of William Carlos Williams: “A poem is a machine made of words.”Now give William Carlos Williams superpowers and have him beat the hell out of the car wash while musing on Pokémon, Barthes, and metapoetics, and you’ve got a sense of Bruce Covey’s Change Machine. Covey knows the canon well, and treats it with a mix of comic distance and yearning. Take a poem like “29 Epiphanies.” The speaker has read the classics and gleaned a lot of meaning from them – just not quite the meanings the authors had in mind. From Coleridge, we get “Just leave the albatross the fuck alone.” From Blake, “A lamb is different than a tiger,” from Dante, “Beatrice is out of your league,” and from the Greek myths, “Styx is another name for shit’s creek.”