Roadside Attractions: A Poetic Guide to American Oddities is a coffee-style chapbook of poems inspired by iconic American roadside attractions. This ekphrastic collection frames quirky landmarks as windows into American culture and explores the resulting reflections into human nature. The full-color layouts were done by Matt Lake (author of Weird PA, Weird MD, and frequent contributor to Weird NJ). The poems were written by John Wojtowicz.
Roadside Attractions crisscrosses the American compass from oddities such as New Jersey’s “Lucy the Elephant” to the many far-flung “Statues of Paul Bunyan.” While there is humor within these pages (in “Cabazon Dinosaurs and other Stories,” “Christ of the Ozarks” becomes “The Statue of Willie Nelson Wearing a Dress”), Wojtowicz is more than just a Kerouac of kitsch. His voice seduces us like a carnival barker to witness attractions like “Igloo City” and “Lady’s Leg Sundial,” then once we rubes are hooked, he bestows such wisdom as “Are we content to merely mourn the casualties / of our greed, ceaseless loggers / erecting monuments to commemorate clear-cut trees?” (“Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies”). These poems resonate with “this human urge/ to mark universal canvas” (“Cadillac Ranch”), leaving the reader to ponder the poet’s question, “What more could there be to this life?” (“Near-Sighted”). What more, indeed, than these human, brilliant poems?
By John Wojtowicz. Paperback, 54 pages. Published by Parnilis Media, 2022.