In "The Hollywood Catechism, " his latest collection of poems, Paul Fericano shines a bright searchlight on our addiction to pop culture, our fixation on celebrity worship, and our suspicion of religious ideas. Each poem is a small lens flipped to reveal an alternate universe into which the reader enters bravely with no exit sign in sight. Fericano's unique perspective is marked by a skill and talent that blends socio-political satire with suffering and sentiment. In the process, he manages to acknowledge our shenanigans and celebrate our humanity. Elizabeth Taylor, Jesus, and Joe DiMaggio join hands with Freud, The Three Stooges, and Ann Landers, as Burt Lancaster, Charles Bukowski, and Johnny Unitas break bread with Wallace Stevens, Dean Martin, and Dinah Shore. And as U2's Bono and Tyrone Power's Zorro haunt each other's dreams, the Marx Brothers discuss opera with Oprah. From the wickedly satirical "Sinatra, Sinatra" and its use of the crooner's name in vain, to the irreverent appeal of "The Actor's Creed," "The Halle Berry" and "Prayer of the Talking Head," Fericano's lampoons are equally deft. The book's empathetic "Howl of Lon Chaney, Jr." is not only a luminous parody of Allen Ginsberg's epic poem "Howl," but a stunning work that stands on its own merits. American/British poet and critic, Robert Peake, captured it best when he wrote: "Paul's poetry is a distinct turn of mind-able to sweep up humor, irony, and deep feeling in a winning trifecta. It is precisely in the moment I am laughing in a Paul Fericano poem that my guard is down. It is then when Paul slips in a modicum of pathos, reminding me of how complex it is to be human, how, as Virginia Woolf puts it in Mrs.
Dalloway, 'dangerous it is to live even just one day.' These are poems that read like the messages in a bottle that might be written by the last sane man on Earth, when everyone else has gone mad."