Champaign No Pain

Dirk De Bock

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 66 Price: (paperback) $12.96 ISBN: 9781664117006 Reviewed: November, 2022

Dirk De Bock’s poetry collection, Champaign No Pain, muses about wide-ranging topics, from romantic relationships to delicious barbecue.

De Bock’s work generally rhymes and varies from the sweet and sensitive (In “Lovely Little Darling,” he muses, “Now we change, both of our lives for real/ twine our hearts together towards tomorrow…”) to the provocative (in “I Long to,“ he writes, “I long to crawl on the cold floor/ just want to knock out that door/ smash in the colored window glass/ want to turn everything into a mess.”)

Sometimes, the work turns nostalgic, as in “World of Rock (reprise 01),” which begins: “Let me take you on some journey in rock/ there are plenty of good rockbands [sic] in stock/ with songs that are awesome and strong/ they stay in your heart, where they belong.” De Bock then lists dozens of bands, big and small, famous and obscure: “I don’t stop with Uriah Heep, Motley Crue or Deaf Havana/ just listen to Blackfoot, Vanadium, Quiet Riot and Santana…”

He also lauds barbecue for its power to build community. “This feel tender, this feels warm/ loving each other, won’t do no harm// Make your choice, take your pick/ move them all around the iron stick.”

Unfortunately, the work as whole, is often jumbled. Readers know something is happening here but the ideas can be too murky to discern: “Put your feet behind the eyes of the brain/ their hate is temporarily, they are insane/ of fear, that’s causing their heavy breathing/ although it’s rather cold in this humitidy [sic]/ they don’t need a radiator for the heating…”

Misspellings and ungrammatical writing further distract, as in: “I honestly haven’t done no wrong/ just walking here on the footpath.” Or: “To help real fugitives is quite inmense [sic].” Even the champagne of the title is misspelled as “champaign.”

While De Bock writes sincerely and energetically, the collection lacks polish and requires revision to appeal to contemporary poetry readers.

Also available as an ebook.

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