Complete Nonsense: Book Review


review champman AlbertiDisk1
Picture of an Alberti cipher disc, by J. Stempin









By M. Chapman

Molds can be broken. Sometimes it’s by accident and sometimes it’s deliberate. In the case of Mr. Chapman’s poems/piece/essay–the rupture is definitely deliberate. His selection and arrangement of words in Complete Nonsense is almost like a Rorschach test that either disguises intent or bares the psyche. I think, for Mr. Chapman, the latter may be true–although he is clever, clever enough to create a maze that leads nowhere.

There is nothing unrestrained about Mr. Chapman’s utterances. His discipline in stringing together seemingly unrelated terms in a splatter is a little like Jackson Pollock’s spilling paint on a canvas. Did Pollock toss paint willy nilly, without thought or plan–or did he attempt to create a unified whole? Do Pollock’s and Mr. Chapman’s apparent randomness reflect chaos?  Or is their work an exploration of associating and disassociating elements?

I don’t know.

It appears that central concerns of Mt. Chapman’s psyche are laid bare here–of course that may be a ruse. Some sections in the piece might be unsettling to a subset of readers. Scatological references abound. If this is a portal into the subconscious, though, Freud would say this is to be expected.

There is no way for me to recommend or not recommend Mr. Chapman’s work to a general audience. I don’t think it’s intended for that audience. Certainly, I can’t quantify my opinion with a star system. Mr. Chapman achieves what he set out to do. He breaks a mold. But this is not what most readers expect to find in an Amazon highly rated work.

However, I do give Complete Nonsense a qualified endorsement. If you are interested in language and in exploring the different ways language may be used, then read this book. Mr. Chapman deftly manipulates words, or parts of words. What he has done deserves the attention of intelligent readers.


A. G. Moore


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