Don’t weep for the wineteeth wisteria or meat’s ponderous elevatoring down past the 13th floor of the body. Choose glee gush today. Snag a copy of Alex Gregor’s rollicking & effulgent The Pollen Path. A cottonwood will bellyache 25 million seeds into the skyways. On every page of Gregor’s pouring avowals you’ll hear easy 33 million seedlings crackle and upstart. Ah, the language sways with the promises of all the limbs & wings & waters to come. Frank Stanford had a grandbaby & his name is Gregor, Alex, Path, Pollen, The.
-Abraham Smith, author of Destruction of Man
Here’s a voice sprung from the South with the vigor of an invasive species. Here’s one dutifully scavenging the spiritual landscape lest any sacred image go to waste. Here’s one what treads streets and “feelds” lightly, not causing too much harm, regarded by the trees with a commensurate clemency. What brings all manner of music and liveliness—a tonic of bitter joy. Here’s a little dream-song-of-myself, hard on the heels of country-poet-prophet Abe Smith, and the like, if there are some. Here is The Pollen Path—where you’ll want to be, where you’re welcome before you’re met, where a primrose tickle in your throat is life itself calling you home for dinner.
-Laura Theobald, author of What My Hair Says About You and Kokomo
It's the music here that I am most drawn to in The Pollen Path, which is fiddled up from a place where as a reader I find myself hitching up my trousers to wade into its catfish-haunted waters with the hope that I'll be soon lost in the mud, or at least be pulled in up to my neck. As a tour guide into this world, with a fishing rod in one hand and a banjo in the other, Gregor implores us to "swallow your compass" and "Keep your ears to the ground." It's a landscape conjured up with a strange mix of spit and Spam, a world where some vagabond Whitman-spirit is speaking a new forked tongue. There are intonations of Frank Stanford here, as well as the musical pickings and phrasings of Bob Dylan and the fruitcake-baked south of early Truman Capote. Ride the bayou's mythic murk into a world made alive in a way that it never was and would most likely never again be except on this path laid bare and strange and beautiful by Alex Gregor's song.
-Peter Markus, author of We Make Mud
Alex Gregor’s words give voice to the bead of sweat dripping down the small of your back on a hot day, perpetrated by the static loop of cicadas and the sounds of something frying somewhere. In the poet's own words: “THIS IS THE SOUND OF A SACRED SHAPE NOTE SHOTGUN CHOIR.” The Pollen Path is both a timeless journey wrought through garbled hick meaning and a manual for strange living. At times reading like a self-aware Italian fairy tale, others, like a half-baked stump speech from a greasy snake-oil salesmen whacked out on barley wine, The Pollen Path brings us into a world where words are used as talismans to understand the secrets and beauty of the often mundane but always surprising. Gregor cleverly subverts language and common turns of phrase, creating new blocks of meaning both playful and revealing. The Pollen Path is an "abstract potato salad, / caught in between / two tongues," and when the gum salesman asks: “How’s about another / round of applesauce,” what are we to do but swallow the bait? Gregor manages to reach his hand inside the world and pluck out its pit, which glints like gold in the sunlight then quickly becomes something entirely unexpected. It is a journey spanning time, language, continents, landscapes, lakes, and rivers, that never ends and continues evolving whether we're there to read it or not.
-Daniel Beauregard, author of Before You Were Born and Hello My Meat
Gregor’s The Pollen Path is indeed a trajectory for the senses…like crouching to smell spray roses tucked beneath rows of lemon trees, or biting into a mid-rare heart steak grilled on hot moonlight—a cookout in a vineyard on another planet that’s uncannily right now and right here. You might feel groggy with the good kind of blood lust. You might smack your lips and say I do declare! as these playful poems nourish and fill you with only the most delightfully unholy spirits. This little book is an amuse-bouche for the emotional intellect—a real treat for aesthetes and synesthetes alike. Feast your arational mind on its fragrant, distinctly southern sensuousness.
—Kim Vodicka, author of Psychic Privates and The Elvis Machine
Subverting clichés & blasting us on a tour thru lands of sun & moon rituals, croaking bullfrogs, sacred cicadas, & lotsa greasy meat, Alex Gregor’s The Pollen Path reminds us to affirm our lives by exorcising our demons. If Whitman grew up in the South & embarked upon rural escapades with Frank Stanford, this poetry might be what manifested in his daydreams.
-Matthew Sherling, author of Maybe We're Here to Talk to Each Other
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Alex Gregor is a writer, editor, and educator from Atlanta, Georgia currently living in Rome, Italy. He is one of the founding editors of OOMPH!, an international literary press that publishes contemporary poetry and short prose in translation, as well as the banjo player in the band, The Ship & The Swell. His poems and short stories have appeared both online and in print. You can follow him online at www.marginalcomets.com