FR. Gino Vanzillotta uses verse to express his awe and wonder of the world as he sees it. In addition to proclaiming his faith and adherence to the Christian religion, he takes joy in a wide range of simple events, people, and everyday items in poems such as “Blowing Bubbles,” “Andy Rooney,” and a “Strawberry.”
Most poems are long (one continues for 16 pages), often obscure in meaning, and repetitive. In “Strawberry,” for example, Vanzillotta writes: “You sneak out in flashing red/from your straw bed/while of green all around,/straight furrows abound./Green was the color at birth/then transformed as you went forth./Now you almost blush/as a lush frame you proudly flash./ . . .You grow up green/with a flower on your head/and play peekaboo with the sun/until you bathe in red . .”
In trying to make end rhymes, the meaning as well as the language often becomes tortured and sometimes results in oddities such as: “He is endowed with pure wisdom./With what he has, he can make a boom.” Or: “do you practice hardly/for long, endless hours,/or do you book pieces orderly/in your memory from musical tours?”
The extensive length of most poems seems to be due to Vanzillotta’s inability to find a focus. He tends to study a subject from many aspects, as in “The Clock,” in which he tells of time passing quickly, the chaos of unchecked time, time standing still, the variety of clock shapes and so on.
Unfortunately, despite the whimsy and sincerity here, this collection is less an exploration of ideas or revelations than it is lengthy strings of simple, childlike sentences that, together, offer convoluted and scattered thoughts. Readers who choose to tackle this work will need patience to sort out the author’s message.
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