Let me posit that poetry must first entertain, in order to enlighten. This prose poem collection, Pole Dancing in the Night Club of God, is Walter Bargen at his finest. True enough, but I would venture further to say it is contemporary poetry at its very best.
Here the poet describes the adventures and misadventures of Adam and Eve, Moses,
Luke and Paul, The Carpenter et. al. as Everyman in a colloquial, modern day society. Bargen is a bottomless wellspring of lush, mind-boggling images that leap and bound throughout the collection. Each line is masterfully crafted; and not one click of the telegraph here—a surprise awaits each step.
Without the slightest concern for hyperbole, I say I’ve not been more entertained by a book of poems for years. The humor, and there is plenty, is hilarious, dead on, yet affable. I am reminded of the old saw: “If you want to hear God laugh—tell him your plans.” At times, Pole Dancing in the Night Club of God is bathed in humanity; and at other points, bristling with it. Bargen is among the keenest observers of nature, two-legged and the rest, writing today. It is prescient of the times we are certain to come face to face with in our fast-approaching, discombobulated future.
I’ve heard it said the definition of spirituality is awareness. If so, this is a holy book.
—Robert Nazarene, founding editor, The American Journal of Poetry