SCRATCH PEGASUS by Stephen Kessler reviewed by Kenna O'Rourke • Cleaver Magazine
SCRATCH PEGASUS by Stephen Kessler Swan Scythe Press, 88 pages reviewed by Kenna O’Rourke Stephen Kessler’s agenda in the poetry of Scratch Pegasus would seem to be that of the artist in his poem “Hopper”: in an era where inscrutable conceptualism has become somewhat of a standard, Kessler is confident that his “representation / so square compared to his successors’ transgressions / looks now purely formal and coolly classical … in rooms full of murmuring tourists / relieved to see what they recognize”. It’s lamentable, then, that Kessler’s altruistic aspirations towards a communitarian poetics, a poetics of reachable clarity, are troubled by an unintentional (or so one hopes) exclusion of the modern reader. True, the poet occasionally hits the mark with poignant imagery (“the barking park / where the city’s dogs / sniff each other’s butts / and tangled strips of toilet paper / fly like flags from lampposts”, “Gold light … chop! chop! read more!