Skip to main content

Perpetual Poetry: Words Inspiring Words, a review

"Reading Karen Lillis" copyright 2014 Kristin Fouquet

Perpetual Poetry: Words Inspiring Words

a review of The Paul Simon Project by Karen Lillis

I have a confession to make. I am not a poet. 
I write fiction and I believe writing poetry is a completely different process. 
I love reading good poetry, but I am in no way a poetry scholar. 
These are the reasons I usually do not review poetry chapbooks. 
The Paul Simon Project by Karen Lillis is only my second exception to this rule.

Influenced by Simon’s words and music on the album Still Crazy After All These Years
Lillis duplicates the song titles for her poems in this collection. Some follow a similar 
path as the subject of the song; others venture in their own direction.

The album’s title song inspires a poem which mimics the melancholy and 
sentimentality of the original. Yet, she pumps it up with a contemporary 
edginess and gender reversal. In “My Little Town,” Simon sings, “In my little town, 
I never meant nothin’; I was just my father’s son.” Lillis’ character is not just her 
mother’s daughter as she is “holding on tightly to straight A’s and virginity; 
double-edged, sure-shot, one-way ticket out of my little town.” A lover sacrifices 
half her beloved to 70s television until she finally succumbs to watching with him 
in “I Do It For Your Love.” Resisting the familiar rhyme of “50 Ways To Leave 
Your Lover,” Lillis demonstrates simply, but poignantly, both sides as the one who 
wants to leave and the one who is left. With “Night Game,” the baseball song 
becomes more personal in her poem as a security guard lives vicariously 
through the nightly action.

Side 2 begins with “Gone at Last.” I found this poem especially profound via personal 
experience. I had a partner who lost a sentimental ring during a bad patch in our 
relationship and I wondered if it was simple carelessness or subconscious sabotage. 
Anyone who has ever been close to a gambler might relate to the poem “Some 
Folks’ Lives Roll Easy.” The sad dreamer is the gambler who, down on his luck, 
suffers through desperate ruination in the hopes to get back on top, just once again. 
“Have a Good Time,” is a song which brings me back to Annie Hall. In a bar scene 
in the movie, Paul Simon’s character is inviting Annie and Alvy to join his friends 
and him at a party. She wants to go because it sounds like a good time, but Alvy 
immediately makes an excuse about a “thing” they have to do. In the poem of the 
same name, she conveys the reluctance and uncertainty of a new life in a different 
city and if there will be good times again. The vulnerability of a new relationship is 
explored in the poem “You’re Kind.” Like the song which prompted it, the 
question of compatibility is raised with raw honesty. Its intensity is enough to make the 
sensitive reader tremble. The final poem, “Silent Eyes,” reveals a mature relationship wavering 
on the edge. The strength of this one is in the universal passage of time changing every 
individual and couple. One is left feeling the gravity of life and its meaning or lack of it.

The impact of this collection of poems goes beyond the enjoyment of discovering 
or revisiting Simon’s album and Lillis’ brilliant response to it. The beauty of this 
chapbook is the reminder of words inspiring words and how her words will inspire more.

Kristin Fouquet

Please visit NightBallet Press and pick up a copy of this chapbook 

here: The Paul Simon Project.


  1. I'm more than happy to discover this great site. I need to to thank you for ones time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every bit of it and I have you saved to fav to see new things on your site.
    we provide here..atractive shayari , sms , quotes all quality we post here,hindi shayari best facebook quotes in short line we post here.we also provide everygreen shayari ..
    Dosti Shayari in Hindi
    Attitude Shayari
    Shayari in English


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


PATRIOTISM Yukio Mishima 1 On the twenty-eighth of February, 1936 (on the third day, that is, of the February 26 Incident), Lieutenant Shinji Takeyama of the Konoe Transport Battalion—profoundly disturbed by the knowledge that his closest colleagues had been with the mutineers from the beginning, and indignant at the imminent prospect of Imperial troops attacking Imperial troops- took his officer’s sword and ceremonially disemboweled himself in the eight-mat room of his private residence in the sixth block of Aoba-cho, in Yotsuya Ward. His wife, Reiko, followed him, stabbing herself to death. The lieutenant’s farewell note consisted of one sentence: “Long live the Imperial Forces.” His wife’s, after apologies for her unfilial conduct in thus preceding her parents to the grave, concluded: “The day which, for a soldier’s wife, had to come, has come. . . .” The last moments of this heroic and dedicated couple were such as to make the gods themselves weep. The lieutenant’s age, it s

You Were Perfectly Fine by Dorothy Parker

"Martini" kristin fouquet This is my favorite hangover story. A raise of the glass to the inimitable Dorothy Parker. You Were Perfectly Fine by Dorothy Parker The pale young man eased himself carefully into the low chair, and rolled his head to the side, so that the cool chintz comforted his cheek and temple. “Oh, dear,” he said.”Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear. Oh.” The clear-eyed girl, sitting light and erect on the couch, smiled brightly at him. “Not feeling so well today?” she said. “Oh, I’m great,” he said.”Corking, I am. Know what time I got up? Four o’clock this afternoon, sharp. I kept trying to make it, and every time I took my head off the pillow, it would roll under the bed. This isn’t my head I’ve got on now. I think this is something that used to belong to Walt Whitman. Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear.” “Do you think maybe a drink would make you feel better?” she said. “The hair of the mastiff that bit me?” he sa

Scandalous Art: a book review of Strapless by Deborah Davis

"Reading Strapless " Kristin Fouquet 2022              Madame X  by John Singer Sargent is one of the most famous and enduring portraits, but few are familiar with the beautiful subject, Virginie Amélie Gautreau. My interest in her began even before I learned I lived in her childhood home. In the early 1990s, I rented an apartment and then another at 927 Toulouse in the French Quarter. The building was built by her grandfather, Phillippe Avegno, and was considered one of the “earliest skyscrapers” of New Orleans. In  Strapless: John Singer Sargent and The Fall of Madame X  by Deborah Davis, the author presents a detailed gaze into Gautreau’s early life, her years as a Parisian socialite, and until her death as a recluse in 1915.   Sargent’s original painting from 1883-84,  Madame Gautreau , with her fallen strap, caused such a scandal that the artist was astounded by the reaction, and the subject was shunned by society. He later repainted the strap on her shoulder and kept th