back toJacket2

The Internet address of this page is


Jeffrey Side
Carrier of The Seed
reviewed by Pam Brown
BlazeVOX Books, 2007. Available as a free e-book from

This review is about 5 printed pages long. It is copyright © Pam Brown and Jacket magazine 2008.

Voice from the Refuge


Jeffrey Side’s Carrier of the Seed is a recent title from BlazeVOX, a publishing house edited by Geoffrey Gatza, that calls itself ‘ a refuge’ for ‘post-avant poetries & fiction’ and a publisher of ‘weird little books’. This e-book, when printed, is a 70-page (6 by 9 inches) poem that can be downloaded at no cost from the internet (see link at right).


Carrier of the Seed is an incantatory lament for lost love and an inquest into an ambiguous masculine sexuality. The poem is breathlessly written, imbued with distinctive imagining and, perhaps surprisingly, it also maintains a satisfying, dynamic-yet-steady rhythm, reading like a long, measured monologue or song. There is no punctuation and the consistent pace is developed in short lines that connect smoothly.

paragraph 3

If you suspend reason and surrender to Side’s almost-feverish free association you enter a kind of meditative zone, but one that could well be informed by amphetamines.

4 I
wandered fast and
ran to a
bar where I
was seen last
and sitting in
the corner too
far from my
view was the
hint of a
woman who to
the city was
new where solidity
is a stranger
and reason a
mystery he looked
at words confounded
like they were magnified...

Side book, cover


Side’s language folds over itself and tumbles into the abstract in a manner that’s sometimes reminiscent of the private-language poetry of Javant Biarujia. But it’s never as abstract or as opaque as Biarujia’s because Jeffrey Side’s personal language resembles English. He intersperses antiquated traces that sometimes suggest classic fairy-tales - robes, kingdoms, forests, parlours, maidens, minstrels, pilgrims, a ‘precious chamber’ (shades of Angela Carter) - with a contemporary everyday lexicon of cybernetics and with plain speech. The made-up language overtakes the poet intrinsically and emphasises the suffusion of feeling that pulses throughout the poem.



I always remembered
my wife was
with me hanging
her headgear as
in Hades ganging
against the maiden
gonad and hinipog
there at loonis
doth also come
acquittal just like
a gokonil and
my luck has
never been thin




the fire that
always keeps on
burning to greet
me as I
am churning glad
progressively more and
kalarna but some
coroni corpal pororva
clapsin otorle boodon
nortal she comes
on a train
at dawn...


The female lover is idealised and she is surrounded by desirous men. This perplexes the poet who, although also desirous, turns his poem into a kind of demented rave primed with abandonment and regret, yet somehow he remains detached and tender. Thus eschewing stereotype, he is never jealous nor enraged.


to rest my
fate and ragged
soul beside you
how many men
have hungered for
your open palm
and longed to
be succoured but
you lost what
you had discovered
and were elegant
in sapphire daisy
organdie and steel
and I could’ve
been someone like
you I just
don’t know what
happened and with
tresses to your
bosom your full
bloom did reveal
but I’ll never
get over the
love you gave
that man if
I’d known how
much I was
going to miss


This compelling poem is filled with longing. It is both Barthesian in its yearning and sometimes Freudian in imagery, yet it is not actually erotic.


the time you
used to bathe
in silver seas
with a white
horse along with
everything and the




when I was
deep underground or
widespread and she
couldn’t see the
point of closing
next to me
looking like a
crystal stretched in
water she was
a mistress to
all the world
before the end
came when we
could see her
market research as
she stopped the
foaming waves and
as to how
many erections she
caused in a
crowded room who
can say with
signs and signals
from her hips


Four pages from the end, the poem releases into a quiet resolution that is almost defiantly ordinary after the (by now) inuredness and exhausting ingeniousness of the incantation. The poet is finally recuperating.


...[love]... can
never be torn
away by the
daughters of memory
who formed a
colony of themselves
but I had
a really good
day today when
you remember this
I want you
to know I
had a really
good day...


The specialist care provided by ‘a refuge’ for ‘post-avant poetries & fiction’ is entirely appropriate for the candescent post-Lang-Po poetry of Carrier of the Seed.

Pam Brown, Rose Bay, Sydney

Pam Brown, Rose Bay, Sydney

Pam Brown is the author of many books of poetry and is the associate editor of Jacket magazine. Her author notes page here on the Jacket site has a photo and a biographical note, and also links to a dozen or so Jacket pages where her work features or where she is reviewed or interviewed.

Copyright Notice: Please respect the fact that all material in Jacket magazine is copyright © Jacket magazine and the individual authors and copyright owners 1997–2010; it is made available here without charge for personal use only, and it may not be stored, displayed, published, reproduced, or used for any other purpose.