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Glutton For Punishement (Book Review)
Released: 2017, Indie
I have read quite a few books about Metal of all sorts, so I am always impressed when an author (or in this case a poet) can take a new look at an old topic. Toronto’s Christopher Doda is one such person. Earlier in 2017 he published a collected works of his poems all based around Heavy Metal songs and lyrics. It takes the concept of ‘poetry slam’ to a whole new level.
GLUTTON FOR PUNISHMENT is a smallish paperback with a black cover with a skull of course and is a decent print job. The 95 page book was supported in part by a pair of arts councils in Canada, so it is good to see the government finally opening their minds (and vaults) to alternative ‘Metal’ based art.
Doda’s concept is quite interesting. I’m going to steal this next part directly from his bio because, frankly it is easier than me retyping it to restate the same thing. I've seen this same quote i noter reviews of this book, so I figure it is legitimate!
“Christopher Doda updates an ancient poetic form for the 21st century. The glosa is an old metrical form from the royal Spanish court system where a poet takes four lines from another poet and uses them to create a new forty-line poem (four ten-line stanzas where each of the four adopted lines are the last line of each stanza; lines six and nine must rhyme with line ten), allowing the poet to pay tribute to, converse or argue with the other poet. Dora’s variation on this classic form is to take all the source lines from hard rock and heavy metal lyrics, pushing the musicality of poems and the poetry of rock to its limits, while always forced to keep the beat.”
I’d also perhaps recommend reading the appendix called ‘More Than You Need to Know’ on page 90, where he describes each poem and gives a little insight. I found it very useful but if you are a well-read and sophisticated consumer of fine art and poetry, you may enjoy discovering the nuances for yourself.
Doda is Metal. He has a surprising range of bands from which he drew inspiration from T-Rex and Goddo, industrial acts like Ministry and Rammstein and the much lesser known Toronto act Malhavoc. There is a surprising amount of Black Metal (Solstafir, Mayhem, Watain and several more) as well as some classics in the form of Motorhead, Sabbath, Priest and Maiden. He also draws upon lyrics from some of the more trendy stuff, Gojira, Meshuggah and even Acrassicauda! His taste is very broad and comprehensive.
As for the poems themselves, I found them very engaging, but I’ll freely admit I’m not a sophisticated reader; I haven’t read much (any) poetry since university in entry-level poetry appreciation classes. But I know what I like and many of these are modern, dark and edgy. I do appreciate good lyrics and wordplay so this appealed to my sensibilities. Metal poetry is cool poetry!
The only reason I might not rank this a little higher is because it might not be directly applicable or interesting to the readers of Metal-Rules.com. However, if you are a patron of the arts and a fan of Metal, GLUTTON FOR PUNISHMENT could be a very neat and unique addition to your library. Expand your horizons and check out this inexpensive and well done foray into merging two seemingly incompatible worlds.