Danika reviews The Horizontal Poet by Jan Steckel

The review copy of this book came with a business card from the publishing company, Zeitgeist Press, and the tagline on that card is “Poetry you can actually read”. And that is true with The Horizontal Poet, to some extent. Some of the poems are very easy to  read and straightforward, while other are more abstract and difficult to follow. Many, however, are medical, describing life inside a hospital. Some of these include medical terminology completely lost on me, which made that tagline a little odd in relation to The Horizontal Poet.

There is a lot of variety in this collection, and some of my favourites are great little encapsulations of a situation, including emotional poem about a hospital during Hurricane Katrina. The author is bisexual, but there isn’t a lot of references to sexuality in The Horizontal Poet. There were a few instances that made me hesitant, however. One poem, “On the Street”, seems to be almost entirely a “transvestite” joke, and another poem refers to “MTV hos”. On the other hand, The Horizontal Poet does occasionally reference disability (the title is a reference to this) and sexuality activism.

I still feel conflicted about this collection, mostly because of the “transvestite” poem, but there were other poems that I wrote down quotes for the Lesbrary’s tumblr.