A micro-review of John Patrick Mullen's Disintegration


John Patrick Mullen

Animal Heart Press


ISBN: 978-1-67801-899-3

If you had no idea about the arc of Mullen’s chapbook, the cover should give you a hint. The letters of the title appear to fall down or disintegrate. The 22 poems contain no punctuation, and lots of staggered lines and white space, which continues the extended metaphor of a life falling apart. The lines are clipped, spare, the words carefully chosen. While the theme of this chap is the dissolution of a relationship, there is no overt sentimentality.


A few examples, from two of my favorites, are from "lament":


like bronze in an early winter sunset

clinging to trees

and "sundown over shadowlands":

if the bus stops in the villages

even exist any more

now that we roll towards something

entirely different

than one another

Mullen was born in England and taught English literature in China. There are many references to poets and poetry, and his style has a hint of Bukowski.


Nina Bennett is a regular contributor of micro-reviews and poetry to The Broadkill Review. Bennett is the author of The House of Yearning, Mix Tape, and Sound Effects (Broadkill Press Key Poetry Series). Her poetry has been nominated for the Best of the Net and has appeared in publications that include South85, I-70 Review, Gargoyle, Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Philadelphia Stories, and The Broadkill Review. Awards include the 2014 Northern Liberties Review Poetry Prize and second-place in poetry book category from the Delaware Press Association (2014). Nina is a founding member of the TransCanal Writers (Five Bridges, A Literary Anthology).