Oyster Boy Review 09  
  May 1998
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» Levee 67


Ballons and Twisted Pins, by Steve Conway & Cari Taplin

C. C. Russell

Balloons and Twisted Pins.
Steve Conway & Cari Taplin.
Kitty Litter Press, 1997.
16 pages, $2 (chapbook).

This chapbook from Kitty Litter Press is a good one, combining the work of Steve Conway, whom I haven't read that much of, and Cari Taplin, whom I haven't seen around too much lately. It's good to find her alongside Conway, whose voice is original and leaves me wondering why I haven't read more of him.

This chap avoids a lot of the pitfalls often associated with collaborative works. The poems here echo each other more than directly playing off of each other, so the voices stay unique yet manage to blend at points as well. Conway's poem about mice in a field turns into Taplin's poem about mice in the "mazes / of wood, glass / and plastic." And this is about as close as the two voices come to falling into each other. They stay just separate enough to create the feeling of a brush of skin that could have been something more. The chapbook also has a feeling of connectedness all the way through, which is another problem a lot of collaborative chapbooks face.

My main problem with this chapbook is its length. Sixteen pages just isn't enough for me. Even though two bucks is certainly not expensive for a chapbook, I'd like to see more. It just seems a little bit too short. Really, this is my only complaint. It is a good continuation of a very good series of affordable chapbooks that Cari's press has put out in the last few years. She seems to have an eye for cohesive collections, and I hope that she continues to maintain this level of quality with future publications.