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Screaming in Code, by Thomas Wiloch
Genre: Mixed Genre Anthology
Publisher: Naked Snake Press
Published: 2006
Review Posted: 6/27/2007
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

Screaming in Code, by Thomas Wiloch

Book Review by C. Dennis Moore

Have you read this book?

I'd stated before that Thomas Wiloch is the kind of guy I'd like to meet because the stuff that goes through this guy's head, he's GOT to be fun to hang around with. After reading his latest prose poem collection Screaming in Code, I stand by my previous statement.

"How to Read This Book"

Individuals 12 and over, read 2 prose poems every 4 hours as needed. Do not exceed 8 prose poems in 24 hours or read for more than 10 days. Keep this and all reading material out of children's reach. And, as with any book, if you are pregnant or nursing a baby, seek the advice of a literature professional before perusing.

In case of accidental overdose, take a warm TV show to induce vomiting.

As with his previous collection, "Stigmata Junction", the newest is also filled with such amazingly incomprehensible images, I can only imagine the wonder with which Wiloch must view the world. I didn't spot many repeated themes this time around, except maybe the general "living outside of everything" sense of displacement Wiloch's words instill. There were a few, however; "Protected With Mirrors", "Empty Buses", and "Hole in the Wall" deal with isolation and identity. Then there's family with "The Game", "My Father's Business", and "Father's Hand." I particularly enjoyed the imagery in the latter.

"Father's Hand"

The boy was not sure what to do with his dead father's hand. So he dipped the index finger in blood and wrote a word across the sky. The word was so large that everyone could read it. But the word was so mysterious that no one could understand it.

The boy nodded in satisfaction. "There you go, pop."

Some of the works in this collection--like "Mansion of the Black Butterfly" and "The Performers"--are definitely longer, more complex than in the previous collection, as if in some cases Wiloch's close to stepping out of the prose poem form and into the short-short story box, and still there's that feeling of not being of the real world, as if you're reading someone's dreams. Wiloch's definitely a writer who knows how to put into words with perfect clarity the images in his head, and he can do it in such a way, with a flow and a rhythm and a brevity that keeps us locked to the page and eager to see what wondrous sights the next piece will bring.

I think if I had to choose a favorite of the two, I'd pick "Stigmata Junction", but Screaming in Code is still an awesome collection, something to keep close at hand if you ever need a dose of surreality to the imagination, or a reminder of just what kind of magic something so simple as a string of words placed in a particular order are capable of. Screaming in Code is going to get several more readings and pieces like "Crutches" and "The Man Who Lived in a Box" are going to be revisited quite often, I can already tell.
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