Sunday, October 16, 2016

Reading Jana Prikryl's "The After Party"

by Gregg Chadwick

I have been carrying my copy of Jana Prikryl's engaging book of poems "The After Party" with me for a few months now. Before I go out the door, I almost always slip the collection into an open slot in my bag. On recent travels from Los Angeles, to San Francisco, to Carmel, to Milwaukee, to Memphis - Prikryl's book has been with me. Each destination flavors my reading of her poems, almost like memory itself. And in a sense that is what Prikryl does in "The After Party". In her book we travel with her through a series of moments, or times, or places, or memories. Unlike many books where the narrator disappears into the text only to reappear as an overbearing Disney-ride like explicator, in "The After Party" Prikryl joins us on a journey through time. Memory can be like an artist's drawing full of smudged marks, erasures, and fantasies. Prikryl acknowledges this in her poems and lets us glide through her veils of time. From the former Czechoslovakia to the "Thirty Thousand Islands" of the Georgian Bay in the Canadian realm of Lake Huron, Prikryl creates worlds of time-images. I urge you to carry "The After Party" with you. Read it on the train. Find a favorite passage while waiting in line at the pharmacy. Share it with your local barista. The book is that good. Prikryl reminds us that a life is made up of moments, upon moments, upon moments.

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