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Subterranean Summer: and other poems Paperback – July 2, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
After having read Joe Maldanado's collection of poems titled Subterranean Summer, I eagerly wanted to delve into his mind. Perfectly titled, Joe takes a real life approach to his work. His rants are relatable, as he discusses pretty much any topic that he many come face to face with. So what makes Maldonado's work so special? As I began exploring his world in this book, I found myself wondering if he was joking about some topics that society would strictly frown upon. Page after page he represents those that have been wronged, and all in the name of fairness. Even in the simplistic shorts, he just might catch you off guard in what you might believe as unrelated.
Be it religion, politics or our own selfish bubble, he's not afraid to call attention to the hypocrisies of society. He provides a strong touch of irony, when he declares "The mayor's sick of those he doesn't represent..." (Subterranean Summer). Here's to the misrepresentation we face in life. You gotta love the type of work that can anger and calm you all at once. And who would think to discuss so boldly.
It's quite difficult to narrow down Maldonado's work and say this is better or that is the best, instead you appreciate his work as a whole body of art - expressive artwork. He showcases his abilities further in a piece called "Soundtrack of my life" in which he boldly lumps together artists ranging from The Beatles to Tupac to Mozart, Bob (Marley that is), and more. This work reflects his world and all that he is privy to, yet this also tells me that he understands and truly knows how to appreciate it all. In another work, "330.20", he discusses the various types of individuals that he's become confronted with from pretty much every walk of life. And amongst this wealth of knowledge and experience, Maldonado recognizes that "Among these 17 stories live 17000 stories". These are books that will never live, poems that will never manifest and lives that will remain stifled. I thank Joe Maldonado for sharing his wonderful work. Great job!
The great majority of the poems follow a very standard ABA or AABB AACC or AAAA BBBB CCCC rhyme scheme. Other than two haiku's the formats are mostly standard and rhyme which makes for a rather repetitious read. There was heavy use of metaphor and at least one poem which appears to use anthropomorphism which is also most likely my favorite poem of the book. I would have liked to have seen more poems that broke away from the simplicity of the standard rhyme scheme or the 3- or 4-line stanzas. There are poems that have a unique structure but the majority of them are very standard. The rhyming seems to usually occur with the last word of the line rather than using any enjambed lines, sound effects or non-traditional rhythm. This was not a flaw of the book but rather an explanation of what to expect from Subterranean Summer. For the most part, they are simple poems written with a standard structure.
By far, my favorite poem was "Notebook." It is a love sonnet written to his writing notebook as though the notebook is a beloved woman. Unique within this collection of poetry it easily stands out.
I read through the entire book in less than an hour. I found some of the poems to be silly (American Cheese and The Power of Wonderbread) while I greatly enjoyed others (Notebook and 330.20). Overall the collection was ok. It's obvious that Maldonado writes for self-expression and to share a great love for poetry. There are poems that draw from politics and opinions on television, work, and corporate sponsorship. I enjoyed some of the poems and I always enjoyed Maldonado's metaphor or message. I prefer a break from tradition with poetry - non-rhyming schemes and disrupted stanzas - so while it didn't satisfy my personal preferences for poetry it is a good introduction to poetry for other readers.
Review by Ashley LaMar
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