By Lynette G. Esposito
The collaborative poetic voices of Eric Greinke and Alison Stone compliment each other in their co-authored 72 page tome, Masterplan published by Presa Press of Rockford, Michigan.
The poems do not credit either Greinke or Stone but both throughout the four sections entitled Emergency, Little Novels, Q & A and Tarps. The poems successfully vary in theme, form, and subject matter.
In the first section entitled Emergency, the eighteen poems cover emotive themes and situations that inspire unease and fear. In the poem Bad Actor on page 22, the narrator puts the reader in a public place watching a live theater presentation. The twelve-line one-stanza poem visualizes a benign situation which characterizes the audience as innocent or totally oblivious depending on perception
The gunman surprised us
when he leapt on the stage.
His eye were cold as he took aim
at the man in the front
row loudly unwrapping
caramels, instead of at the actor
pretending to menace
the tied-up mayor and his wife.
The other actors froze
And the audience thought it
part of the show, even after
the real blood began to flow.
The contemporary and subtle commentary on seemingly both real and staged theater inter mix and confuse, not the reader, but an audience that was watching pretend evil When the audience is confronted with real life evil, it has trouble recognizing and processing what is happening. The poets have a light touch as those on the stage realize what is playing out in front of them while those who came to watch are now the ones being watched in a skillful switch.
In the section, Little Novels, the poems are each numbered (from 1 to 31) and are presented as poetic vignettes each telling an almost full story. Poem 29 entitled The Beaten on page 40 is a good example.
The sad marching band ran from the field, their
plumed hats drooping, out-of-tune instruments
held to their chests. They’d practiced for weeks
but their routine had been derailed by
serial love affairs in the rhythm section.
The story line is almost complete but suggestive enough for the reader to imagine more
In Q & A, the third section, the first line of each poem begins with a question. Of the six poems in this section, I favor two equally: Animals as well as Monkey Time.. In Animals the question is: What don’t dogs tell us? The answer is: That we don’t deserve them. In Monkey Time, the question is: What time is it? The answer in the second line is: Time for regret to give way to desire. This technique of question and answer throughout the poems in this section is consistent and interesting with many twists on old adages sprinkled with touches of surprise irony.
In the final section, Tarps, The End? begins with the Double Rainbow was the first sign, and ends with: Atheists learned to pray, just in case. My favorite line in the poem is The dogs meowed. If the world were to end, wouldn’t there be signs and interpretations? This poem presents contemporary images and uses a question mark in the title symbolically negating the suggested signs as a maybe.
The tome is full of both short and long poems of various forms that give clear images of modern life and relatable outcomes to how people react to and interpret situations. I liked the seamless mixing of two voices in a clearly successful collaborative endeavor.
You can find the book here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0996502688/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0
Lynette G. Esposito has been an Adjunct Professor at Rowan University, Burlington County and Camden County Colleges. She has taught creative writing and conducted workshops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Mrs. Esposito holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois and an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Rutgers University. Her articles have appeared in the national publication, Teaching for Success; regionally in South Jersey Magazine, SJ Magazine. Delaware Valley Magazine, and her essays have appeared in Reader’s Digest and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her poetry has appeared in US1, SRN Review, The Fox Chase Review and other literary magazines. She has critiqued poetry for local and regional writer’s conferences and served as a panelist and speaker at local and national writer’s conferences. She lives with her husband, Attilio, in Mount Laurel, NJ.