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Favorite Bedtime Stories
by John M. Fitzgerald,
Review by Kristen D. Scott
Last night in the midst of a dream, I sat at a bruised-up, oak round table. As a spectator, I witnessed grand conversation over dark frothy ale and Turkish coffee, between Jean-Paul Sartre, Voltaire, Nietzsche, Marx, Camus, Socrates, Orwell, and John M. Fitzgerald, three Frenchmen, a Greek, two Germans, a Brit, and one Irishman.. If anyone belongs at such a grand philosophical and literary meeting of the minds – it is poet, and disabled rights lawyer, John M. Fitzgerald. These intellectual giants are the personas that Fitzgerald creates in his new poetry collection, Favorite Bedtime Stories (Salmon Poetry, 2014).
In Favorite Bedtime Stories Fitzgerald uses the view points of animals, and chess pieces to question human motives.
Orator for the planet with a voice like dirt
and a few odd ghosts behind me.
Herein lies the testament of earth,
a statement much too much for me to bear.
It overwhelms me, and I am afraid.
I have no proof.
I am a poet and cannot explain.
I will go into the other room to drink.
(“The Man Who Knew Everything” 13-20).
Fitzgerald's strength, his deft use of wit, satire, and irony, is noticeable in his poem title, “The Man Who Knew Everything.” In the poem he uses the term “Sapiens'' but where is the “homo?” “The Man Who Knew Everything” (1).
Fitzgerald’s satiric view of the world is evident in his poem, “Fairy Tale.”
Once, there were four brothers.
One owned all the water.
One owned all the fire,
One owned all the food,
and one owned all the air.
We stuffed these leaches in a hole
and ate and drank and breathed.
“The Ape's Notion,” “Devolution,” “Leopard,” to name a few are multifaceted poems. They address the unconsciousness, voice, perspective and duality of the “Sapien.” From a “one-winged fly, free to believe as told...or beaten,” in “Devolution,” to a “Lion one day dragged in pieces by the ants before their queen,” in “The Ape's Notion,” Fitzgerald explores the power of the small when working as one entity to overcome the mighty. ( 2, 4, and 20).
John M. Fitzgerald's words are timeless. In Favorite Bedtime Stories Fitzgerald writes with wit and humor about human devolution, behavior, and unconsciousness. He champions and gives voice to the fly, and ants .Like Sartre and Orwell, Fitzgerald is a masterful writer. Join with him as he champions those who think that they are powerless in a society of lions and leopards.
John FitzGerald is a poet, writer, editor and attorney in Los Angeles. A dual citizen of the United States and Ireland, he attended the University of West Los Angeles School of Law, where he was editor of the Law Review. He is the author of Favorite Bedtime Stories (Salmon Poetry, 2014), The Mind (Salmon Poetry, 2011), Telling Time by the Shadows (Turning Point, 2008), Spring Water (WordTech Editions, 2005), Spring Water (Turning Point Prize, 2005). As yet unpublished works include Primate, a novel and screenplay and the non-fiction The People of the Net. John has worked as the Associate Book Editor for Cider Press Review. He has been featured poetry reader at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the West Hollywood Book Fair, on national radio, and at many literary venues throughout the country and abroad. He has lived in England and Italy and now lives in Santa Monica, California. (Poets & Writers)
Kristen D. Scott is a nominee of the Pushcart prize in poetry for five works from her 2014 collection OPIATE. She is an award-winning essayist for her work on Federico Garcia Lorca and his books the Divan del Tamarit, Poet of the Deep Song, and essay, "The Duende."
She has published in several Anthologies, newspapers, and ezines, including the San Diego Poetry Annuals, Nomos Review, Perigee, Alesbuyia, and published two poetry collection from Garden Oak Press; LIAISONS (2012) and OPIATE (2014). She has also been translated into Arabic, Turkish, Albanian, and Sanskrit.
Scott is currently the Editor-In-Chief, founder, and web designer of KNOT Magazine, holds a MFA in Creative Writing, MA in English Literature, and progressing with her Ph.D in Global Education.
She resides on the Riviera in Türkiye.