In re: yesterday’s post–if you have reading recommendations, please post them in the comments.
As I live and learn, is:
Dig and Be Dug
Also, I got a little older over the weekend. Not a lot, but just a smidge. That’s what happens when you celebrate the anniversary of your 29th birthday. I’m calling it “lyric aging.”
Phoenix is an awkward commingling of the ancient and the new. Its name pays tribute to the way it was developed, built over (and using) a centuries-old canal system developed by the Hohokam people, who either vanished or abandoned their settlement there. But a sense of history like this isn’t pervasive. Since 2000 its population has increased by 24%, making it now the fifth largest city in the United States and the largest state capital. The city’s “historical neighborhoods” typically date back to the 1940s and 1950s, but Phoenix isn’t a city of short memory; it was (and is) built by transplants and transients.
The Phoenix edition of LOCUSPOINT, edited by me, features new poems from
and translations from the Icelandic by Christopher Burawa.
Up next: Sandra Beasley’s Washington, DC.
My review of the British publication of Dan Chiasson’s Natural History and Other Poems is on display over at Eyewear:
Chiasson’s work can be characterized by a deep, entrenched sadness. Poems frequently find themselves, sometimes inexplicably, worrying the concepts of death, decomposition, departure—even the implication of death, what Chiasson refers to as “the kitsch / of death” (“‘…and yet the end must be as ’tis'”). Particularly in The Afterlife of Objects does this preoccupation hold center stage as it creates tension between the inevitable failures of the body against the static persistence of things.
In “My Ravine,” the speaker describes a place in which a landfill for box springs, bookcases, desks, and even “somebody’s hairdryer” becomes the irresistible resting place for deer, who ultimately “stare at each other and wander / bewildered down my ravine and turn into skeletons.” Later, in “Natural History,” the image appears again, but as an elephant: “Worn out by suffering, we lie on our great backs, / tossing grass up to heaven – as a distraction, not a prayer. // That’s not humility you see on our long final journeys: / it’s procrastination. It hurts my heavy body to lie down.”
I think Wayne Miller’s poem in Barn Owl Review is one of my favorite pieces I’ve read in a long time.
I love him for being so brilliant, and I hate him for not being able to do it myself.
I will write more about BOR soon, because the whole issue is a trip.
Another couple of poems I loved lately were the Aaron Belz pieces over at Anti-, another new journal I’m loving.
And D. A. Powell’s piece over at linebreak!
I’m drowning in beautiful poems over here.
Here are the poems I nominated from LOCUSPOINT for this year’s “Best of the Net” anthology:
Thanks to all editors and contributors for their outstanding work! It was a difficult decision, and each city had at least one contributor who made it to the final, gutwrenching round of selections.
is when I read a collection of poems, a manuscript, by someone I know and it ROCKS.
Getting that “I wish I thought of that!” feeling. And also, watching the poems grow from first drafts into final pieces. It’s like your neighbor’s kids are all grown up and heading off to college.
I also love reading my friends’ published books—a pleasure I’m saving for this weekend.