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Reader reviews of:

Bailing Water by John Dempsey


March 25, 2004
Reviewer: Sue Hess
St. Louis, Missouri

Dempsey's writing is always tough, gritty and insightful. Bailing water holds true to pattern, giving us a realistic (not always pretty but always interesting) look into the life of the writer, and more important, into his mind and the thoughts that motivate him.

In It's Like This, Woke Up This Morning, and Sometimes the Legs Won't Spread, we see him struggle with his views of himself as a writer, sometimes insecure, more often cocky but always true to his vision. Although we catch glimpses of some of the great avante garde poets that came before him, Dempsey is a talent in himself, no copy or wannabee.

In Letch and Mid Afternoon Identity Crisis, and my personal favorite, Dear Sir, we can't help but enjoy the humor and Dempsey's ability to laugh at himself and his behavior. I, for one, kept telling myself he exaggerates his zany, sometimes bizarre acts, while another part of me asks "Does he exaggerate or is this the real Dempsey?" Either way, I enjoyed the journey.

Whether serious or tongue-in-cheek, Dempsey is on his way to being one of the great writers of our time. I look forward to much more of his writing.

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March 15, 2004
Reviewer: Renee Angers
Writer/Publisher Brainpan
Canada

I have never read another writer who was able to convey his own flesh, blood and guts on a page as prolifically as John Dempsey. Each piece he creates has been tested and tasted by his own existence. His collection of poems entitled Bailing Water is no exception. There is no performance designed strictly to impress within these pages, but an account of life that will make you laugh, cry, and cringe. Absolutely brilliant.

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January 14, 2004
Reviewer: Kristi Swadley
Independence, Missouri

There is a kind of sordid vicariousness with which I read John's Bailing Water. I've conversed with The Italian; collaborated with an Arab; flirted with a wolf-grin bearing gay man; and eavesdropped on a creepy conversation between two men about one's wife. Oh yes - and done just about every drug and a few women in New York.

All this without leaving my house, drinking a drop of liquor, dropping a hit of acid, or making it with an unwholesome type woman. But I'm buzzed, man, and thinking of getting tested for STDs, because it was real (and so surreal) in every molecule of my body.

In short, a manic you-had-to-have-been-there-but-in-a-way-you-were read.

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Bailing Water - John Dempsey

Bailing Water
by John Dempsey

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 Bailing Water - John Dempsey



January 14, 2004
Reviewer: Timothy Gager

Dempsey's work explodes from the pages like a rocket of tactile defensiveness being touched. He is a one-of-a-kind wordsmith offering a meal of words never tasted before.

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December 21, 2003
Reviewer: Leon Schlossberg
Fayetteville, North Carolina

John Dempsey is either crazy or one of the best story tellers of this generation. His stories, or poetry, or whatever you want to call them remind me of my teen years when my parents pointed at people like the characters in John's stories and threatened I'd turn out like that if I didn't do as they said.

It didn't take many pages to become comfortable in John's world. Of course, I'm a man. Female readers might find John a bit irritating, obnoxious, chauvinistic or even overly insensitive towards women and their needs. But then, some may find him appealing - or even sexy. Interesting world.

Dempsey writes about big-city life, the struggle to be successful and quite naturally, the necessity of getting laid. Dempsey is an education unto himself and in some perverse way I hope he really does live the life he writes about. Women would say it serves him right and I just say, "cool." Hang in there John - Drinks on me at the Sanremo Hotel.

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December 20, 2003
Reviewer: Sondra Schlossberg
Fayetteville, North Carolina

I find myself hoping men don't all think and talk like John, but appreciate the apparent education in male behavior. The stories in this book are permeated with all sorts of bad habits involving drugs, alcohol and unconventional sex. The way Dempsey writes about these topics it becomes immediately apparent that he has either lived the lifestyle, possesses excellent powers of observation, or has a very active and intuitive imagination.

There are a lot of works in this book, more than seventy-five. Although at first it appeared they were independent stories, a thread soon revealed itself and at the end of the book I discovered myself understanding John's struggle for success. I hope he ends up getting all he wants out of life.

No John, I won't go out with you but if you write another book I'm your first customer. You can't get an education like this in high school or college.

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Bailing Water - John Dempsey

Bailing Water
by John Dempsey

More Details

 Bailing Water - John Dempsey