Evan Hansen

A New Twist on Confessional Poetics? Mayakovsky’s Revolver, by Matthew Dickman

by Evan Hansen Reviews & Interviews
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Matthew Dickman received the second fan letter I’ve ever written. The first was written in 1989, when I was ten years old, and it was addressed to Howard Johnson, an infielder for the New York Mets.

Matthew Rohrer’s Destroyer and Preserver

by Evan Hansen Poetry and Poetics
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If you’d told me that the ultimate line of a wonderful poem could be, simply, “Doctor Wong,” I would’ve looked at you skeptically.

The Actual Voice of Someone Else: Philip Levine’s “News of the World”

by Evan Hansen Poetry and Poetics
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News of the World certainly offers some typical-feeling moves to those familiar with Levine’s oeuvres, it also contains formal variations and preoccupations that will amuse and surprise both his admirers and those who don’t yet know his work.

And the James Patterson of Contemporary Poetry is…

by Evan Hansen Poetry and Poetics
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Call me a lyre, I dare you

Last or some night
light, who cares the when of this,
glittered the tree up at the end
as the wash from a car as moved the planet, I’m not
in touch with personally Saturn, in branched fingers
of eerily, I’d say off-the-shelf language, isn’t it
necessary still how life lit into the moment
to say other than the facts of it, see,
whatever the bits are inside that oscillate
or pinwheel, I was moved to internal whirring
cicadish, even though my epiphanic dog-walkings
mean shit to you in the throes of your
epiphanic askings of the moon, for what, afterall
are we in this, some random sense of, fuck
if I know, belonging

“While I was masturbating, more rainforest disappeared”

by Evan Hansen Poetry and Poetics
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In a poem called “Life,” which appears in his most recent collection, Words for Empty and Words for Full (Pitt Poetry, 2010), Bob Hicok writes: “The feeling that mysticism / is the only way to be polite…. / While I was masturbating, / more rainforest / disappeared….” These disclosures feel true—and inevitable, given what at […]

I create the whole universe blink by blink

by Evan Hansen
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I understood that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist. All the rest, I saw, is merely what pushes me, or what I push against, blindly—as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back. I create the whole universe blink by blink… “The world resists me and I resist the world,” I said. “That’s all […]

Ben Lerner’s “Mean Free Path”

by Evan Hansen Reviews & Interviews
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What if I made you hear this as music
But not how you mean that. The slow beam
Opened me up. Walls walked through me
Like resonant waves. I thought that maybe
If you aren’t too busy, we could spend our lives
Parting in stations, promising to write
War and Peace, this time with feeling
As bullets leave their luminous traces across
Wait, I wasn’t finished, I was going to say
Breakwaters echo long lines of cloud

In My Beginning…

by Evan Hansen Poetry and Poetics
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Dear Angry Mob,

Oak Wood Trail is closed to you. We
feel it unnecessary to defend our position,
for we have always thought of ourselves
(and rightly, I venture) as a haven for
those seeking a quiet and solitary
contemplation. We are truly sorry
for the inconvenience….

Accident and Inspiration: Waking up from a Comma

by Evan Hansen Poetry and Poetics
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This is not my first year of teaching high school English, but it is my first year teaching at one of Portland, Oregon’s lowest-achieving high schools. There is much to say about my students’ backgrounds that might explain their sub-standard reading and writing: they come from a variety of places, including the mountains of Southeast […]

Golden Splinter

by Evan Hansen Art
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Above is painter Sean McElroy’s “So Just Be It.” I have known Sean a long time, and I admire both his art and intellect. I was reminded of his work yesterday as I settled down with Ben Lerner’s new book of poems, Mean Free Path (Copper Canyon Press, 2010)—a book I’ve been excited to read since, well, Lerner’s last book of poems.

Spam Folder Amateur Gemology

by Evan Hansen Academia
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Says that the Russians once anchored here and hunted sea-otter before the first Yankee trader rounded the Horn, or the first Rocky Mountain trapper thirsted across the “Great American Desert” and trickled down the snowy Sierras to the sun-kissed land. No; we are not resting our horses here on Humboldt Bay.

Holiday Special

by Evan Hansen Poetry and Poetics

Wandering the shadowless aisles of the supermarket a couple of days ago, I passed a colorful phalanx of plastic-shielded, heart-shaped cakes.  Realizing that Valentine’s Day was nigh, that other people would be putting forkfuls of these hearts into their mouths in the hours that followed, and that a good many of these displayed hearts would […]