I would like to write something about both of these two books I just received (one as recent as last night) but am out the door in less than a minute.
Instead, I thought I’d provide a little sampling to whet your lovely appetites for the stuff that moves our minds, which of course is one of the only real things. I mean this latter bit in multiple ways, but also in the way that they discussed on a show I just watched about sex: most sexual pleasure starts & takes place in one’s mind; hence, an active mind is a thriving, happy mind. Sex and poetry, yes, yes, yum. Um, but I digress.
art of dakar (or, tourist trap)
“a senegalese activist reported that trees, some more than a century old, had been cut down everywhere the [u.s.] president was scheduled to pass.”
–jonah engle, the nation, 7/23/2003
poems are bullshit unless they are trees a century old, sentries lining the streets of senegal. in dakar, the darker brother keeps the peace, while a bush burns in effigy. a poem should show, not tell, so hold up your arms as if they were trees: if you have enough digits to make a fist, you are now a double amputee. terror perches in branches with its sights set on power ties, so no trees on these roots. a poem in jeopardy appeals perversely to the senses. the space where what you haven’t seen used to be (what did these trees look like?). less traffic on the main thoroughfares (what did these trees smell like?). using like or as, describe the impact of the visit on the city: dakar, comatose quadriplegic, stunned by the thundering walk and a big stick of a blowhard. and where are the residents of goree island, while the resident of a white house tours a red one? come on, concentrate. clean shot photo ops, souvenirs at low low prices. all sales final: no return.
Evie Shockley, a half-red sea (Carolina Wren Press – 2006)
Regarding the manner in which the work is or not proceeding, initial indications indicate research reveals the following account: I’ve been abducted, brawled at the opera, ruined the king’s sundial, gathered my cronies, tolerated pagans, confiscated contraband, broke-and-entered, and purchased nectar, lastly. I write no lampoon (The Roof is on Fire).
The roof was on fire, so the medium made to be got across was spelt. Spelt like the cocoon got hatched. He grabs his nuts and slurs hatch this. I do too. Together. We are practically one. As consciousness is consciousness of. The exposition fixed toward a progression where notion corresponds to object. On a train, the simple immediacy of what body where appearance is identical, permanent and self-preserving. And uttered this resists the absolute certainty and truth of the sensuous this that is meant but not said. Exactamente. The thing is what is true. I do not believe in it. Despite the manners that are expected.
Alli Warren, COUSINS (Lame House Press 2006)
On another note, I have recently started using a few essays by Maya Angelou in my basic writing courses. I feel like I am just discovering her again. And I want more.
Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and is co-editing with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edited the anthology Bettering American Poetry 2015 and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.