Four poets

The other night I had a rare moment to myself.  Not “by myself”; I am by myself, alone, all day long, working remotely from home, connecting to an office hundreds of miles away. But rather “to myself”; no obligations or responsibilities or demands on my time, just an hour or two, to do with as I please.  I didn’t have much time, so I wanted to be certain that the minutes I did have allotted to me actually counted for something.

I feel a bit the same about poetry.  It’s an opportunity for a writer to take a few words and a small space and spark an enormous, raging fire in a reader’s heart. Its dearth of strict rules delights me – for someone as meek and timid as I can be, I resent guidelines and rules, they often annoy me and I do love to see them twisted and broken. And poetry is a vital, relevant language – at turns mystical, raw, terrifying, full of rage and longing, tender, and absurd- leaving one hollow, spent, and breathless….and I will confess to loving it all, even the bad poetry.

I dabble a bit with writing my own poems, though not as much as I did when I was younger.  And I’ve no delusions that I was ever any good or that I have improved much over the years, but it’s something I quite enjoy (to the extent that I used to participate in open mike nights, believe it or not! Even I have a hard time believing this.)

At any rate, on this particular evening, I cozied up on the sofa with a stack of books that I’d been meaning to get around to; all relatively recent offerings from some new-to-me poets, along with some old favorites.  It was an hour very well spent.

I’ve copied below a few excerpts for your enjoyment, as well.

curtiss

A Taxonomy of the Space Between Us, by Caleb Curtiss, is a heartbreaking chronicle of grief, stalked by sister ghosts. Radiant, revelatory elegies.

Sparrow {excerpt}

My sister
is not a woman, a girl, or even

a real someone or something.
Not anymore.

In her place I find a bird
nearly frozen, lying

in a field, its body
broken in some way,

and it is utterly flightless
and possibly a sparrow —

 

a0da55c515b7b343952121dccc0d5286_sex_lives_header-920-470-c

The Sex Lives of Monsters by Helen Marshall weaves together, ancient myths and familiar tales in a painful, poignant, and sometimes oddly pitiful exploration of what it means to be monstrous.

As my heart forever breaks for poor, doomed Eurydice, this excerpt from The Stairwell gave my heartstrings a particularly violent tug.

The Stairwell {excerpt}

We cannot be other than we are.
You must mount the staircase,
face toward the dawn.
and I in your shadow,
forever certain
of your turning head.

 

tmb002-janakastucky-coverart

Because I love a burning thing
I made my heart a field of fire
{excerpt from The Art of Loss is a Lost Art}

The Truth Is We Are Perfect by Janaka Stucky, is poetry of sacrifice and miracles and destruction and love is superbly and succinctly summed up by Pam Grossman over at phantasmaphile as “…Incantatory and incendiary”.  Actually, I don’t know if I can do it any further justice.  Just read her review.  Also, here is a link to a Spotify playlist that Janaka Stucky put together for this collection of poetry and a description of the playlist, in his own words, over at largeheartedboy.

 

onights

O’Nights by Cecily Parks presents a luminous, lyrical vision of the natural world through an urbane, modern woman’s eyes – pale nightscapes, violent springs, wounds and lusts, captures and release.

I Have Set Fire To The Forest {excerpt}

I put on a dress to walk
in the seeping rain, believing
that if the willows are suddenly green

I might have something sudden happen
to me. I saunter impatiently

 

Postpastoral {excerpt}

I borrowed an axe
so heavy I had to drag it 
through the woods.

Branches couldn’t catch
the geese or the sliding sun
and the mud-streaked axe blade

and my mud-streaked dress
took on a violet sheen.
I would build a house

to be lonely in.

 

Leave a Reply