Poet and Blogger Michael Dennis Reviews The Lemon Bars of Parnassus
“The Lemon Bar of Parnassus by Lee Kisling is a travelogue through trailer parks filled with Vernon’s and those lost in the sad adoration of Peggy Lee.
There are moments of the seriously surreal in these poems as Kisling rhapsodizes over Helen of Troy and skies that rain anvils.
These are not distractions, but neon signs that show the way, traffic direction signals for navigating this strange earth.”
“As I read on, I found Kisling’s voice strangely reassuring. His range and choice of song is both esoteric and endearing, ultimately it is familiar in unexpected ways.”
“The Parallel Press series of chapbooks published by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries are consistently strong and vibrant choices. The editors have culled, winnowed the chaff, and it shows.
Lee Kisling is doing his part. These smart poems have a vibrancy all their own. They tease at the surreal on occasion but that is playful misdirection, the magician making you watch the left hand while the right hand settles the score.”
Parallel Press announcement for The Lemon Bars of Parnassus
With an eye trained on the curious, often quixotic details of a world in which “the only gods left are bandaged and wear glasses / because the old gods are all locked behind / the Lemon Bars of Parnassus” Lee Kisling shows us lives lived after the bad choices, the accidents and catastrophes. Sorrow and comedy make comfortable companions in poems
that wonder where picnic rain comes from and how the moon can “make magnets of hands and lips / when the world / is so full of care?” This is not a world of conventional beauty, but one where stars “sparkle with irony” and the telltale signs of a town’s ordinary human tragedies are witnessed by owls. Taken as a whole, this collection invokes a certain disquiet but also the unmistakable majesty of the human journey.
Lee Kisling, an Iowa native, is an engineer, writer, husband, and father of two who has lived in Hudson, Wisconsin for twenty-five years. In 1992, his first juvenile fiction novel, The Fools’ War, was published by Harper Collins. He has written many songs and poems,
plays the piano, and in 2008 had a series of cartoons published in the Wisconsin poetry journal, Free Verse. The poems in this collection are from 2006–2010. He is currently enrolled in the Creative Writing Department at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.