Notes toward Jane Gregory’s “Yeah No”

jane_cover_530x

I want to think about distance and Jane Gregory’s new book of poems, Yeah No (The Song Cave, 2018). Or something more like gapping. A space between concepts charged with those concepts’ distance, what holds discourse together (and molecules, and planets). I think, reading these poems, that the poems express the space between the world and the thought, that between the thought and the person, the person and the feeling.

I think the poems enact a beginning, one that is already foreclosed in an end, and within that circularity or polarity, we find a self enfolding in articulation. But I can only think toward these thoughts, and that feels about right, that the poems themselves can only think toward them. I hope you will receive this as notes toward that thinking, that thinking toward these thoughts.

Read the full notes at Michigan Quarterly Review

Here is the Room I Want to Fill with Birds: An Interview with Caitlin Bailey

411XTBN7IbL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

 

The story of Georg and Grete Trakl is a haunting one — a brother and sister living in the shadow of horrific war, sharing a life in poetry and music, but also sharing disastrous drug and alcohol addictions. They had an extremely close relationship, the extent of which no one firmly knows, but they no doubt cared for and protected each other until their untimely deaths — Georg by overdose and Grete, three years later, by suicide — before either had turned thirty.

It’s a story that Caitlin Bailey powerfully imagines in her debut collection, Solve for Desire (Milkweed Editions, 2017), which she dedicates to Grete. Assuming Grete’s voice through a series of richly textured lyric poems, Bailey explores an all-consuming desire that forever holds its subject captive. In the cold but safe interiors of these poems, persona and the personal are blurred, and history finds expression between individuals seeking each other across unimaginable distances.

Read the interview at Michigan Quarterly Review.

To Describe Our World: An Interview with Kevin O’Rourke

tumblr_nmt2lmGbpS1u9x84zo1_r3_1280.png

“One could only begin simply by looking,” Kevin O’Rourke writes to welcome us into his new memoir: As If Seen at an Angle (Tinderbox Editions, 2017). Comprised of tightly woven essays on art, medicine, death, and grief, his new book is at once funny but heartbreaking, lyric but precise. It explores a fascinating range of topics — from Clyfford Still’s famously acerbic personality to the YouTube channel for the Benson Family Funeral Home in Chicago; from the untimely death of The Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch to the history of German wunderkammer; from “The Pink House” where the author used to party in college to his father’s suicide and his mother’s subsequent grief and lost battle with cancer. Parsing the fogs of distant memories, flying over landscapes, zooming in on the details of artworks, and scouring all kinds of dictionaries and databases, O’Rourke weaves together a rich web of artistic, scientific, and personal inquiries.

Read the interview at Michigan Quarterly Review.

A new poem project! Alphabet: A Rolodex Poem

Erasure and material poetry artist Jenni Baker (please read our wonderful conversation, and have a look at her incredible erasures) invited me early this year to make a rolodex poem. It was a fantastic experience that had me, each morning, really studying a letter, a through z. The result was an austere project, but one of which I am incredibly proud–especially as it takes place with extraordinary projects by  M. NourbeSe Philip, Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Micheal Leong, Evan Kleekamp, James W. Moore, Barbara Balfour, and Collier Nogues. I would love if you have a look at the project and a few of my thoughts about it here.

Or you can just watch my weirdo promotional video, in which I sing the alphabet:

“Season / Dogma / Ghost” finalist for the Anomalous Chapbook Open Reading

I’ve been working on a long poem, which I very much view as an entrance into a new modality, titled “Season / Dogma / Ghost.” I’ve been very judicious about what to do with it, and in fact have only sent it to one place, Anomalous Press (the re-up of Drunken Boat). I am so thrilled that it has been accepted as a finalist! See it tucked here with an incredible roster of finalists. No matter what, some great things are about to be published.

Book Review, “The Myth of Water,” by Jeanie Thompson

212-6392-Product_LargeToMediumImage.jpeg

To undertake a cycle of poems on the life of Helen Keller is to throw oneself at an interesting poetic problem: how to capture the perspective of one who lived in a wholly different perceptual world than most other people. To be sure, there are plenty of fine collections on the experiences of disability—Nick Flynn’s startlingly original Blind Huber comes to mind—but Helen Keller is a singular historical figure who, in our cultural imagination, bears a particular burden as the standout radical subject who, as if through magic, was able to speak from beyond an impassable veil.

It is with an acute sense for Keller’s abilities that Jeanie Thompson works in her book, The Myth of Water. . . 

Read the review at NewPages.