Radomir Vojtech Luza – Poet Laureate of North Hollywood Pens New York Nadir: A Collection of Poetry
The poem, “America,” from Radomir Vojtech Luza’s latest collection of poetry, “New York Nadir,” may not have been written in Alan Ginsberg’s living room, but it was probably scribbled in the den in something of a time warp.
The poem combines heartfelt opinions with historical facts and keen observations that make it an odd ode to this country, something on the scale of Ginsberg’s world-famous “Howl.”
“America,” the first poem in “New York Nadir,” is also a moving testimonial to the African American community and the trails it has blazed.
And if “Howl” put Ginsberg on the map, “America” should do the same for the 50-year-old Luza, who has been writing poetry for 30 years, and has 25 books, including 16 collections of poetry to show for it.
“Nadir” is a creative tour de force for Luza, the Poet Laureate of North Hollywood, CA and a Pushcart Prize nominee, who combines psychology, philosophy and social consciousness in this 39-poem masterpiece.
In the book synopsis, Luza writes of leaving New York City and his ex-wife and moving to Los Angeles, where he encountered homelessness, sleeping on bus benches and in shelters and a stay in a mental hospital. This, he says, inspired him to write “Nadir,” which the dictionary defines as meaning rock bottom or hopelessness. Poems that stand-out include “Cleveland,” the collection’s third poem. The intricacy, delicacy and loneliness in and in-between the lines make for a stirring and expertly-woven poem inspired by a city crying for help and understanding from anyone who will listen. The tapestry glows like a rainbow. This is nothing short of a brilliant effort. One requiring a keen eye and a true belief in one’s instincts.
“The easy way is getting harder
The numbness of instinct
The intrusion of genius
The arrogance of confidence
Your warehouses and flats
Buy words my sweaters take
My angels fake
My sister makes
Your rivers snake and shake through castrated
Causeways and bulletproof heartaches”
“Just A Writer” is an early poem in the book that hits home for the genuine and honest, yet somewhat awkward and shy Luza. As is the case with many poems here, it has a highly personal substance and style, touched by thoughts of what might have been and should have been, but, most importantly, of what is. In other words, this poem is as human, gentle and tender as the entire collection.
“I want to be Elvis
But I’m just a writer
A tired, weary wordsmith
The apple of my mother’s eye The end of my father’s boot
The tender planet of my existence
The death of my innocence
The birth of my ignorance”
“Her Eyes” is another poem that exemplifies Luza’s uncanny ability to play with and twist words and meanings around. It is his choice of nouns, adjectives and adverbs that sets Luza apart from other poets and writers. He sees the entire picture at a fleeting glance, not merely the tip of his nose. And in doing so, he underscores the feelings and facts that others sometimes miss on purpose.
“Thursday’s supper in
The blue of her corners
Dripping like absentee
Fathers on holiday from
Her eyes orbs of another destination
Orbs of sweet decadence”
The second to last poem, “Divorce” is the antithesis of the collection.
It is deeply confessional and charged with imagery and feeling. The poem also shows the influence of Luza’s favorite poet, Sylvia Plath, in its dark despair, passion, fluid word flow and intimate bluntness. “Nadir,” as a whole, is modeled on Plath’s last collection before her suicide, the ground-breaking “Ariel.” The poem is an ode to Luza’s ex-wife and to what could have been had his ego, and possibly his bipolar illness, not sabotaged the relationship. It is a sad and tragic state of affairs that Luza somehow finds a way to make less hopeless with a combination of vivid and vibrant description and brutal honesty. This is a beautiful and uproarious poem, indeed, despite the bleak subject matter.
“I want love
The kind of love that saves adulterers and child molesters
That disowns the cranium and gives an enema to peace
That earns the balance, that holy altar, between books and bunji
The kind of love that only you can give
That untwists tangerines”
On the back cover, Luza quotes other writers, including three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Albee, as to the quality of his writing and poetry.
“I have read Radomir Luza’s poetry and journals,” Albee writes, “and find the work absorbing. There is great honesty, pathos and dark humor in the writing. His is a fascinating talent.”
New York City poet Jay Chollick seems to understand Luza equally well.
“It is in his poetry,” Chollick points out, “that Radomir comes through most forcefully. Drawing on the dramatic traumatic experiences of a lifetime, he sifts through their rough disorder, to find in mingled pain, shock and random happiness, the hard-won understanding and closure that only art can bring.”
All in all, you really can’t go wrong with “New York Nadir.” If vulnerable, confessional and truly authentic poems are your cup of tea, this “Nadir” proves that there is a unique, sensitive, powerful and relatively new voice on the Los Angeles literary scene. That voice belongs to Radomir Vojtech Luza
We, the readers and lovers of poetry, should devour not only Luza’s latest effort, but any piece of literature by him that came before or will come after.
This collection was written in a profoundly transcendental and transitional period in his life. It, therefore, bears careful reading.
Published by Author House Copyright c 2014.
Price : $13.95
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