Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hikmet (a poem for Nazim)


most remarkable you loved a world
that nailed you like a too-vivid portrait
(red, blue, green) to soot-blackened
walls; that this love kept showing up
in poems like gold-rinded oranges;
that you kept it, always, close at hand.

stuck in thorn-bushes the length
of america, I look for this love
(fruit, flesh) inside myself, find
steel-hewn indifference, implacable,
endless, & america its faithful
mirror (informer, accomplice).

thus, all relation is blocked, unless I peel you away & swallow
your seeds. despite my cash-confiscated fingers, I'll try...


Friday, June 08, 2007

Jordan Stempleman: Horse Sense


I got a nice Dusie chap in the mail yesterday from Jordan Stempleman. His new chap is called Horse Sense. It strikes me as an odd title- horse sense usually implies practicality, an ability to see through blarney and unnecessary complexities to the heart of the matter. The Stempleman poems included here, however, are ornate, complex, and intellectually ambitious. They don't demonstrate horse sense per se, but create a kind of gilded labyrinth for the brain to play around with. I kept thinking of Self-Portrait era John Ashbery. Stempleman may turn out to be a kind of heir apparent to Ashbery; his formal elegance, rich vocabulary, and intricate layering suggest this. The chap is sprinkled with memorable lines- The night to remember is impatiently waiting/ to be left alone (which recalls Ashbery's famous the night, as usual, knew what it was doing), What a difference it is/ to be between the unwritten and the unsaid (this one strikes me as more Eliotic), There is a looseness in tending/ to look back (this could go either way). This particular chap is a pleasure, a reminder that a good chap can be as important as a good book.
 

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