Poet Fortner Anderson pads about the city burning with hope, crying into his notebook and laughing out the side of his sidewalks. His new collection — a daybook titled Solitary Pleasures — takes twin form as both an intricately printed book and a CD featuring recorded recitations of 35 poems on a bed of musical nails. Fingernails bitten, painted, cracked, searching. The sound and echo of the city and its solitary pleasures, as painted by this sweet-singing adventurer of the everyday.
Read, first — each page, each word, each letter carefully handcrafted and pressed by designer Fabrizio Gilardino — the melodic honesty of these blunt and blushing snapshot poems delights, invites, launching tiny fireworks with words of fire. Compassionate. Carnivalesque. Curious.
Listened to, later — Fortner’s rasp supported by the lucid musical dreams of Alex St-Onge (bass), Sam Shalabi (electric guitar) and Michel F Coté (drums and microphones), these same poems turn bleak, amidst liminal harmonic musings they hector and hurt. Contemptuous. Coruscating. Cutting.
The city wrestles with hard feeling. The poet strolls into scene after scene licking up scattered personal truths like hits of acid. We share his trips via the ear, the eye, transforming solitary pleasures into momentary mutual metamorphoses.