Portuguese Sailor Boy
By David Appelbaum
Portuguese Sailor Boy is a fragmentary history of the bloodline of the Portuguese explorer, Vasco de Gamma. The bloodline motif plays out in a series of scenes of an unnamed contemporary relation—in symbolic forms like nautical maps and paint-by-numbers frigates. The narrative centres on the wayfaring of his character, which reveals a life of accidental achievement as well as unadvertised follies, and neither ascends nor descends to an end.
David Appelbaum has previously worked at a University as well as in publishing. His most recent books include notes on water: an aqueous phenomenology [Monkfish, 2018].
"Appelbaum’s work forms a wide-ranging and crowded chorus of stories that purposefully carry the reader in multiple directions, with each poem artfully connected through the thread of de Gama’s imagined adventuring dynasty... Appelbaum has managed to inject a different voice into every poem whilst still retaining depth, giving the collection a fast-paced, giddy feel when read in a single sitting. Each piece is a sharp narrative break from the previous one, purposefully pulling the reader into a new reality and offering snatched glimpses of different lives. " -Ben Ray, Oxford Review of Books
Oxford Review of Books for full review