Attention Span 2012 | Jordan Stempleman
Emily Pettit | Goat in the Snow | Birds, LLC | 2012
Pettit is a poet who collects and collects and collects. Who then knows how to turn inventories into lucid feelings, understandings, and problems, so as to reinvent the familiar practice of living. “The red water here is not red, / the green wind is not green, the orange house is not orange, / and the blue roof like the sky is not blue. We are / much too big for this room we are not in.”
Kim Hyesoon | All the Garbage of the World, Unite! | Action | 2011
I love how these poems go toward the fantastic but only to speak directly to the dysfunctional assessments and mistreatment of the overlooked, the marginalized. Hyesoon speaks through the voice of those who were erroneously thought to be fully emptied out, unthreatening, language-lacking. This is not the imagination of a faraway place. This is what it sounds like when suppression ignites and explodes.
Dan Magers | Partyknife | Birds, LLC | 2012
Who is the one writer I know that could open up for Shellac and Jesus Lizard: Dan Magers. Kids and forty-somethings, after listening to Magers read these poems, would feel reconfigured within themselves. What I mean by this is, we would still have our usual language, our most used up phrasings, our innumerable distractions and pleasures, but we’d now DO something with them, and “the okay” that marks much of our experience and interaction would become laughably and meaningfully okay.
Dana Ward | This Can’t Be Life | Edge | 2012
This Can’t Be Life is a portable device that will enable you to listen to Dana Ward speak whenever you wish to hear such an indefatigable intellect, and caring, smashed all over with caring, fusion of person-poet-husband-father-looking-trying-thing. “Things were whole & set in place, & then broke, & that breaking, which thought the / piety / by which I was delivered with ease into the love-rich fact of my daily life / jolted into pieces, & feeling, built for me as a blissful deluge / revealed its quelled floods to that child.”
Caryl Pagel | Experiments I Should Like Tried at My Own Death | Factory Hollow | 2012
What happens when what’s “meant” what’s “known” and what’s “named” are placed beside other securities so they can finally near the complex becoming of “lifelike?” Pagel restructures the taxonomic reach of experience and information, ideas and uncertainties. “Experience the quivering quivering— / the sudden settle in shifts in shape— / that the movement above has halted Experience / is not / enough”
Christopher DeWeese |The Black Forest | Octopus | 2012
This book reminds me how fast, much too fast, I walk through nature when there’s only nature around. There are places that need remembering to get built. This doesn’t mean destroy and build. This means enable the cause that, after several years and many campaigns of seeing and thought, then becomes a penetrable field of poems that are unbelievably attentive and animate. “You need to break sediment / from the glancing world, / viewing each pasture / as an hour that happened / before autumn / changed its maples into days.”
Ben Kopel | Victory | H_NGM_N BKS | 2012
If every knife fight had a copy of Ben Kopel’s Victory… Outside a goth club in Chicago, Ben Kopel read poems to poets and to goth kids alike. There was such a hanging on words because we too had lived through the subjects and lost times that fill Kopel’s poems. I never knew how to really write about those times without losing all of their intensity, (mis)fortune and precedent. But Kopel does. He renders and preserves. First times live on like first times. “From the target of my t-shirt I tell my ill friend / you will wake up. You will wake up and / you will run. You will run and you will rise. / Like the sun. Like a star. A nova. An idiot.”