Cami Park

Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Scrimshaw

In Confessional, Poetry, Prose on September 27, 2010 at 7:36 am

At Night
Matthew Shindell

Though I wouldn’t tell her
I see tattooed ships
across her breasts,

hanging
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.

Three Candles Press: In Another Castle by Matthew Shindell

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 »

Just so

In Art, Poetry, Prose on September 15, 2010 at 9:02 pm

from SAY, JOKE
Adam Robinson

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.

Awesome Machine Press: Say, Poem by Adam Robinson

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 »

Okay, things

In Art, Confessional, Poetry on September 11, 2010 at 6:26 pm

I’ve updated my post on A Conventional Weather, because it’s such an incredible book of poetry, and really deserved more. I am going to stick to saying more about the books, but the one a day thing I set for myself was kind of killing me. I’ll still try for that rate, even though I’m behind now, but my main goal will be to simply complete the books on my current roster by the end of the month.

Otherwise, there’s a new Wheelhouse, after a very long time, and I have two poems in it: Family Narrative and Many Stories. It’s an issue full to bursting of amazing poetry and prose; well worth checking out.

Natalie Perkins

Always an orphanage

In Celebrity, Household, Poetry on September 8, 2010 at 6:46 pm

[Acknowledging Death Was in the Room…]
John Pursley III

Acknowledging death was in the room, she unwound the clocks & removed the jewelry from the nightstand– the small stack of coins & the blue plastic pillbox that never stayed closed. She ran water in the bathroom, working her hands along the porcelain basin of the sink, refolded the towels and plucked, from the carpet, the small bits of leaves they’d ushered in on their shoes. Outside, a train knocked against the trestles towards Chicago, or Detroit, some city she couldn’t quite conceive of– all those buildings butting up against one another, & to what end? Here is a circle. And here, a square. Here is the rectangle where [insert famous name] saved an orphanage from destruction by fire. Always an orphanage, or runaway bride– a kidney-shaped pool being drained of water. Always the encapsulary fragment that says we are moved…are moving. And what of it? she might have asked, his clothes neatly stacked by the door to their bedroom, what of it?

New Michigan Press: A Conventional Weather, by John Pursley III

In Confessional, Poetry, Science on September 8, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Such is the way of windows, of gravity and rock– conventional weather.
John Pursley III, from A CONVENTIONAL WEATHER

A Conventional Weather, John Pursley III

A Conventional Weather, by John Pursley III, is  an exquisitely written collection of 19  portraits of people, places and experience, published by New Michigan Press.

Pursley writes flawlessly, with profound insight and emotional depth, of the conventional lives of conventional people in environments so compellingly drawn as to be both inseparable from, and nearly separate, characters themselves. The Ground Is Swollen & Black: the Air Not Moving at All is a portrait of Pursley‘s father fully wrought with love and pain; almost unbearable to read. The opening lines introduce his father:

Tonight, my father walks the narrow row of railroad ties, now delicate
As the dirt itself & crumbling, the way a mushroom will, when

It begins to dry & draws its moisture to the surface, like a protective skin

and our image of him is inseparable from the land the man is walking: railroad ties, dirt, dryness. Read the rest of this entry »

I have only one house

In How to, Poetry, Science on September 4, 2010 at 8:06 pm

circular motion does zero work
Evelyn Hampton

To attract a swarm of bees, hang a dark box
inside me. Is it my heart or my heart in my hands?
If only I could look closer I would be able to
understand the difference between modern buildings and the
people who built them. The nurses have blood on
their hands and I am the one who has to tell them. A bad
sign, I say, by opening and closing my drawer of
undies. Springs, slinkies, drill bits, and augurs
give the illusion of movement. A man leaves
by getting smaller than my door. A man comes in
by getting taller than my door. This table behaves
more and more like a wave every day. It interferes
with what I am trying to say about the weather,
how it is always hot and gray. The sides of my face
fluctuate randomly, echoing down the hallway. Laughter
the portraitist cannot paint floats to the ceiling
in a photograph of the hallway. Cease to follow the rules
of classical physics and they put you in a room where
four walls are so close together time hardly passes
except to say Bless you and Pass the tissue? At night
I can hear where I put my keys walking behind me. I have only
one house, but I see its doorway everywhere in the
forest. It grows from topsoil I would call enormous.

Magic Helicopter Press: We Were Eternal and Gigantic, by Evelyn Hampton

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.

Barefaced varmints

In Etiquette, Poetry, Religion on September 3, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Litany for Regifting
Reb Livingston

Your animus toward Her is judging
as you expound the soul who spellbound and hunted,
for you are the animal with the anvil and Her poorest choice.
Remedy Her for the sake of the Shepherd’s principle,
the face and master who is you.
For this apologia,
you are ordinary and loathsome.
Remember this, fourth-rate narrator:
Her gifts were debased,
displaced among white elephants,
barefaced varmints full of dicked offense.