Selfies with the Moon by Adrian Sobol, Review #23

-Reviewed by Claire Trevien-

There are a couple of things I find interesting about Adrian Sobol’s Selfies with the Moon digital chapbook. The first obvious one is that it consists entirely of Instagram photos on a dedicated Instagram account. The poems are typewritten with scribbles and typos (generally a line of X’s scribbled over) added to each before they are photographed and given a filter that is like an extreme version of Earlybird, a darkening circle around the edges. Different filters on different photographs, but all reminding me of early lunar photography, which is the intention I’d think!

The second interesting thing about Selfies with the Moon is that that format shows you which poems in the chapbook the audience has found most successful.

I can show you the top two for that spot:

Basketball and Blood then. Short impressionistic poems both. Where the basketball poem is concerned, I like the contrast between the jocular situation at hand, and its grandiose wistfulness. The blood poem is having a lot of fun with line breaks, is the blood ‘mooning’ all over the linen, or has the blood moon simply taken over the author’s linen? The last two lines feel more throwaway.

Two authors are invoked: Gabriel Garcia Márquez, and Federico Garcia Lorca (particularly his Blood Wedding, I suspect). He begs that words, whether his or Lorca’s, be found ‘scored / on men’s room walls’. Biblical incantations are another thread, Sobol blesses categories, apologizes that his ‘hair’s fucked / on earth  as it is / in heaven’

I suspect some will find this to be self-indulgent, a criticism many level at selfies too. And yes, it is, but it’s also a self-aware chapbook, self-publishing through a written interpretation of selfies, hijacking #blessed, and using a subject matter that’s been so done to death that Bobby Parker once exclaimed in his poem ‘Fuck the Moon’:

The next time you find yourself writing
about the moon, stop. Go for a walk in the dark.
Call your mother and tell her you are sorry.

So, Chapeau, Sobol, for creating something so interesting with all those odds stacked against you.

This December, I have given myself the task of reviewing one pamphlet a day to raise money for next year’s Saboteur Awards. You can help by donating, or sharing the link using the hashtag #pamphletparty. I have given myself the aim of writing at least 300 words for each, a lower word-count than the usual reviews on Sabotage, in the hopes of making it more manageable! Here’s a link to the previously published reviews in this project!