BY CHARLES RAMMELKAMP
2014, Pure Heart Press/Main Street Rag
Filed Under: Poetry, Memoir
Alan Catlin’s poignant, grim memoir, Books of the Dead, is a two-part reflection on the death of his mother in 1985 (The New York City Book of the Dead) and his father and stepmother in 2004 (The Central Florida Book of the Dead). The total effect is sobering. Both narratives, with verse, involve heartache and reflection on the ultimate destiny that faces us all.
Anybody familiar with the small press surely has read Alan Catlin’s work. He’s all over the place with poems, stories, essays, reviews, chapbooks, etc. Catlin’s memoir here feels like it could have been plucked straight out of The Chiron Review, and indeed, parts of this book were published in different forms elsewhere in the samizdat press. Which may be a clue as to what to expect. Continue reading