In Confessional, Poetry, Prose on September 27, 2010 at 7:36 am
Though I wouldn’t tell her
I see tattooed ships
across her breasts,
from the main,
a sailor appears in her sleep
and hands me scrimshaw
wrapped in butcher’s paper.
Until morning we arrange
shells into sentences
that I send away
as ransom notes.
In Poetry, Prose, Surprises on September 24, 2010 at 11:52 pm
A woolly beast hung sheets and towels on the line in the morning and asked how he slept.
–Matthew Shindell, from JESUS AND THE 12 OPOSSUMS
In Another Castle by Matthew Shindell
What stands out about In Another Castle is the creativity and extravagant heart of Matthew Shindell– his poetry is imbued with the sensibility described by Rebecca Loudon as “deep play“– absurdity/playfulness with a solid, thoughtful, often stunning, emotional core. In the poem INC a character is trying to make a sale: Business is booming. It’s booming business./You bring me a nickel and I give you/either a flower or a mushroom. Lucy/took the flower. All that night she dreamt/of people smiling . Now you, you look/like the kind of guy who could use/something special. I have a pumpkin out back/that might be just your size. Seriously/what can I do to get you leaving here today/with this pumpkin? This whimsical sales patter continues to its clincher– Because I know/it is sad when the light of one thing falls/in the space of another. The streetlights/hung in the early fog like something/beautiful strung up for amusement:/some beautiful novelty. It is sad./The lamp obliterates the empty desk. Achingly lovely, yet completely in keeping with the rest of the poem. Read the rest of this entry »
In Art, Poetry, Prose on September 15, 2010 at 9:02 pm
from SAY, JOKE
Marie and her blond friend Denise were passing through the yellow light.
Italian Renaissance painters, Marie said. Denise couldn’t get a handle on it. Chiaroscuro was particularly oblique. The World’s Smartest Artist came in. In the glass he saw a future of willows and at once they laughed. Things, they were just so and no one could deny it.
In Poetry, Prose, Religion on September 15, 2010 at 8:46 pm
How can poetry compete with error, in this economy of attention?
–Adam Robinson, from SAY, POEM
Say, Poem by Adam Robinson
Say, Poem is divided into two sections– the first, Say, Poem, is a larger, sort of stream of consciousness patter-type poem constructed around a series of other poems/prose pieces. The second section, Say, Joke, is a series of smaller poems in the form of ironic, off-center jokes.
The patter-type poem in Say, Poem takes the form of a poet’s monologue at a poetry reading– both interior and exterior, it seems, as in Say, Thank you–/Thank you–/Then say,/I’m not reading a single line/until I know how much/this is going to get me.
It’s an interesting concept, and got me thinking about context regarding poetry– how differently we see it depending on presentation, as at poetry readings, or what we may have heard beforehand about the poem or the poet. For instance, our appreciation of this particular poem can’t not be affected when it’s presented to us this way: Read the rest of this entry »
In Fashion, Poetry, Prose on September 3, 2010 at 7:39 pm
He was huge but could not grasp himself.
–Evelyn Hampton, from SAG: A SAGA
We Were Eternal and Gigantic, Evelyn Hampton
We Were Eternal and Gigantic, Evelyn Hampton‘s small collection of poetry and prose from Magic Helicopter Press, is a wonderful first read, but I’ve been over my copy several times, and each time find something new to appreciate and wonder over. Throughout the book, Hampton covers America’s money-obsessed culture, superficiality, capitalism, sexism and other heavy topics so lightly and effortlessly, you barely notice. In bill blass gave money a breezy look, she tells us, about Bill Blass: He designed a suit for the ways a woman could behave. A woman could walk quickly. A woman could sit sexy on her bare legs and still have some legs left over to run a business. Somewhat devastating. Really charming.
There are 10 poems and 4 stories in this collection. The poetry tends to deal with larger, less personal issues, like money, sex, society, faith. Haircuts. The stories are more in depth, uniquely insightful about people and their relationships, effectively braiding image and occurrence together in a steady emotional progression. Cell fish, in particular, is especially moving, about a couple affected by illness.
Highly recommended. Many odd citrii.
In Confessional, Poetry, Prose on August 5, 2010 at 9:31 am
I went to Very Small Dogs yesterday, and read it. It had been awhile. In the meantime, Joseph Young had added much sublime stuff. This in particular is something I could read in a 300-page volume bound in stamped leather, or faux-leather, or something fancy or serious. Something that, after finding my place, moving the ribbon marker aside, and reading, I could just shut and enjoy the weight of in my hands while leaning back in my chair, full and quiet.
I also read one of my favorite stories by someone I sort of know, Mike Sposito’s You and Your Plane Crash at Stirring. I first read this years ago, and came across it again yesterday, and was once again so struck by the pitch-perfect tone, the black black humor, and the elegance of the writing. It’s a sort of diorama of a couple whose contempt for humanity has transformed into contempt for each other, to the point where an event as dramatic as a plane crash in their garden becomes just another setting to one-up each other and inflict pain. Think Garp, with fucked priorities.
So, I’m considering a project involving this blog, and poetry, which I will post about tomorrow. I had originally planned this project for April, National Poetry Month, but my world got put awry that month, so I’m considering September now, which should be safe. Who knows? Anyway, that’s a tease.
In Celebrity, Poetry, Prose on July 15, 2010 at 10:46 am
Your Dog Dies
it gets run over by a van.
you find it at the side of the road
and bury it.
you feel bad about it.
you feel bad personally,
but you feel bad for your daughter,
about the dog getting run over by a van
and how you looked after it,
took it out into the woods
and buried it deep, deep,
and that poem turns out so good
you’re almost glad the little dog
was run over, or else you’d never
have written that good poem.
then you sit down to write
a poem about writing a poem
about the death of that dog,
but while you’re writing you
hear a woman scream
your name, your first name,
and your heart stops.
after a minute, you continue writing.
she screams again.
you wonder how long this can go on.
I’m sorry, rollerfink. Kid was the best. He’s with Corey Haim (Rambo’s Little Brother!) now.
In Architecture, Confessional, Prose on July 6, 2010 at 10:27 am
There are days you just don’t feel like talking, and today is a day like that for me, but it’s also the day that everyone is posting about Dzanc’s Best of the Web 2010, so I will say that when I got mine, I thought, “this is heavy!” which I liked, and then I opened it up to read a story at random, and read Amelia Gray‘s Cube, about an obelisk discovered by picnicking families at a park. I was impressed and taken by the story’s grace, intelligence, and humor as the group struggled to cope with the monolith’s sudden, weighty presence in their world, and when I was finished I thought, “Okay, that was one random piece of literature out of what, 95?” and have been taking it to bed with me ever since.
In Poetry, Prose, Travel on June 19, 2010 at 2:25 pm
Mark Baumer is walking across America.
I have a piece in the new Requited.
I love New Wave Vomit, and want to send ana c. something and say hi.
Reading The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath; I hope to have a respectable submission for the Fat Gold Watch Press anthology.
In Confessional, Poetry, Prose on March 14, 2010 at 7:44 pm
Issue 11 of NOÖ Journal is up, and I’m very happy to have my story, “Everyone the Same, But Not At Once,” included. It’s an awesome issue altogether, including work from Donna Vitucci, Sasha Fletcher, Erin Elizabeth Smith, Dennis Cooper, and a collaboration between Dobby Gibson and Matt Hart.