Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

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Attention Span 2011 | David Trinidad

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A.R. Ammons | Garbage | Norton | 1993

I’m in the middle of this now, and liking it a lot. Book-length poem in run-on couplets. Ammons has a very friendly, welcoming mind; I trust his meanderings. I think he wants us to think his wisdom is homespun, but in fact it’s wizardly. “have some respect for other speakers of being and / for god’s sake drop all this crap about words, // singularity, and dominion: it is so boring”

Jeanne Marie Beaumont | Burning of the Three Fires | Boa | 2010

Her third book, and a leap forward. I felt, reading poem after poem, that here is a poet at the height of her powers. Awe-inspiring. Witchy, in just the right way. The magic of her own peculiar and deep being.

Elaine Equi | Click and Clone | Coffee House | 2011

Fabulous new book by one of my favorite poets. For thirty years her work has never failed to surprise and delight. No one does what she does. She makes life bearable, makes everything seem shiny and bright. Store-bought and oracular. Click and Clone. You can’t help but snap your fingers to it.

Denise Levertov | The Letters of Denise Levertov and William Carlos Williams | New Directions | 1998

Read this while traveling; couldn’t put it down. WCW to DL: “It must be in the words themselves and what you find to do with them and what you have the spirit and trust to rely on the reader to find what you have put among them. Where is it? In detail. Microscopically.” Also read and loved Levertov’s O Taste and See (1964).

Arthur Rimbaud, trans. John Ashbery | Illuminations | Norton | 2011

I’ve never been able to grasp the beauty of Illuminations (and over the years I’ve tried). But in Ashbery’s new translation the beauty comes through loud and clear. His sent me back to the Louise Varèse translation; I found her introduction extremely helpful.

Jane Roberts | The Nature of Personal Reality | Amber-Allen | 1974

We create our own reality—did ya know. “Your thoughts blossom into events . . . Your beliefs grow as surely in time and space as flowers do. When you realize this you can even feel their growing.” Jane Roberts’ Seth books changed—continue to change—my life.

Maxine Scates | Undone | New Issues | 2011

I wish more contemporary poets were as self-realized as Scates. Her poems really hit the vein. A true sense of interiority (of time spent alone, seeing and thinking and feeling and remembering), illustrating how the past and the present exist simultaneously in us. Beautiful and devastating.

Nick Twemlow | Your Mouth Is Everywhere | Racquetball | 2010

Long overdue first chapbook by a terrific poet. He manages to make me laugh and scare me at the same time. Slick, deep stuff. Happily, his first full-length collection is forthcoming.

William Carlos Williams | Paterson | New Directions | 1995

The Great Beast. I’ve always wanted to read this, and this summer I finally did. In a reading group with four others—every Thursday night for five weeks—which made it that much more of an experience. This led me to WCW’s Selected Letters and his amazing The Desert Music (1954). There are few poets I admire as much as Williams. “unless I find a place // apart from it, I am its slave”

W.B. Yeats | Mythologies | Touchstone | 1959

I actually only read the first book in this collection: The Celtic Twilight, which was published in 1893. Fairy tale-like stories of the supernatural: village ghosts, enchanted woods, faery glamour. Letters of fire that vanish before they can be read.


David Trinidad is the author of Dear Prudence: New and Selected Poems (Turtle Point Press). He is also editor of A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos (Nightboat Books). He teaches poetry at Columbia College Chicago, where he co-edits the journal Court Green and is the 2011-2013 Distinguished Faculty Scholar. This is his first contribution to Attention Span. Back to 2011 directory.