I DON'T RESPECT FEMALE EXPRESSION
Frank Hinton. Safety Third Enterprises,$4 chapbook
Frank Hinton’s I Don’t Respect Female Expression is the latest chapbook from Safety Third Enterprises. It stands shoulder to shoulder with previous STE releases He is Talking to the Fat Lady by xTx and The Serial Rapist Sitting Behind You is a Robot by J. Bradley, and it does so with chin held high.
The collection is comprised of eleven fiction pieces of varying shapes and sizes, and Hinton writes with a somber, meditative ease.
From A Starting Place:
“In the curl of the banister I rest my head. I put two slugs of clementine into my mouth and wish they’d melt. Of course, I need to chew. This is my favorite place in the house. My back fits well on the wood. My head feels good on the curl.”
It’s the simple observations of this piece that make it so damn endearing despite its brevity. That’s not to say that short work can’t be good; it’s just not always easy, and some of the shorter works in this collection don’t always break off cleanly.
I felt the struggles for depth in the short form were most apparent in Father/Daughter and Make a Man. In the former, a young daughter sees her father’s penis, and, years later, reflects on the incident and the overall bond the two of them shared. It’s a good idea and it strives to be a touching story, but in this instance I felt the brevity worked against it, as did the emotional, telling catch-all, “I loved my father very much.” I enjoyed this story, I simply wanted more.
The concise pieces in this collection challenge us to accept them, oftentimes earning their way with addictive architectures like the one found in A Material That Doesn’t Exist,
“I put in a cherry tomato and took it out. I put a baby carrot up there and took it out. I put an egg up there and pushed it out and the eggshell didn’t break.”
or with expertly executed verse fiction like the kind found in Fake Kiss,
“You took me to a beach. You put me on a blanket where I shivered in the wind. You pointed at the playing children and laughed. You kicked a castle back to sand.”
My favorite piece in this collection is the lengthier All Of The People In These Pictures Are Dead Now, a wonderfully crafted study of tragedy and loss. Hinton gave herself some room to move here, and it served the work well:
“Here’s a picture of Janice Baker sitting on a wooden bench at the park holding her exposed left breast. This might be my favorite picture. I’ve looked at it so many times. Janice won’t care that I’m showing you this, at least not in this realm because she’s dead.”
Overall, this is a solid collection that employs themes of love, loss, and impermanence, and it’s at its best when stretching its legs, rolling in the poetry of second person, or simply relaxing. Frank Hinton and Safety Third Enterprises have done it again, and I can’t wait to see what both of them have in store for us down the road. (2011)
Purchase I Don't Respect Female Expression HERE.
Reviewer bio: Mel Bosworth is the author of the novel FREIGHT. Visit his website at melbosworth.com