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Dorothea Lasky is a poet of petulant grace. The particular way she does is she carves into the alphabet for poetry’s hurtfully buried, metastasized epiphanies of black life. Thence comes the fragments of jagged wonder she strings together to decorate her verse with pretty conflict. Her wonder (love and awe) is heavy and plain, stilted like she’s writing after a concussion, but the generalness of language (many fundamental ideas repeating, put forth directly) is thick—it spills over the edges of its meaning into the scary beyond. She meets herself in conversation with the space outside experience’s edges. That is the damaged holiness brought out: a haze of dirty purity like a cough toward an inaccessible God. It hurts like joy. I remembered, reading her previous collection Awe, Tony Kushner’s Angels [...]

NOTE: In lieu of Grossman today, I'm posting a short essay I wrote on Michael S. Harper's poem "Dear John, Dear Coltrane" for one of my classes back at Hunter's MFA program. Listen to the following as you read: A Love Supreme It is almost impossible to read Michael S. Harper and not feel as though you are missing out on some sort of gnostic gospel of jazz history. Haper’s poem “Dear John, Dear Coltrane” would be one of the passages from this gospel. When you consider the history of the phrase “a love supreme,” the title and incantatory phrase from John Coltrane’s own album of praise, some of the “gnostic” implications are clear. Indeed, much of Harper’s work proceeds from history and art, particularly the history of African Americans and [...]

Dorothea Lasky's POETRY IS NOT A PROJECT made huge waves when debuted at this years AWP.

Recently I have begun the epic adventure of watching a series after its time on television. This means many hours of sitting in front of a screen, not having to watch commercials or wait a week, or a year, to see how it all unfolds. Often times when you should be writing the greatest poem you’ve ever written, you instead occasionally get sucked into some ghastly TV series with abysmal, trite acting from smarmy characters trying their best to act dramatic (and god-forbid actually funny), filling us with quiet horror. The symptoms after such excursions are as follows: A stunned sensation closely followed by confusion, acute anger, a longing to have everything you just wasted your time on erased from memory, and ending with a vow to write a letter [...]

When they say, “Spring is in the air,” they aren’t kidding.  New York City is fully abloom--and it is most certainly in the air. Yes, the tulips and daffodils are afoot in the city! Perfectly coiffed Park Avenue flower arrangements trumpet out enormous lilies at pedestrians. Petunias and pansies galore! Primped poodles in their fluffed white glory don’t give damn about signs directing them away from the flower plots, it’s all the same to them—they’re just happy to be out of winter coats. Bees of all kinds are quite busy. Poets are everywhere with little black notebooks, scribbling furiously at the crocuses sprouting up around trees in the parks. But most New Yorkers (poets included, we just persevere and suffer later) are walking around in a Claritin daze, and it’s [...]

Your sonnets make Her laugh.

FALSTAFF:
My king! my Jove! I speak to thee, my heart!

[Poem of the Week: 4/9/2010]

nay, thank him and the bright goddess
that he left us

at Great Lakes bar and Chris Stackhouse's apartment Attendees yours truly Fitzgerald Kearney Gregorian Stackhouse though not sure if he counts honorary board member maybe everyone's welcome everybody's autobiography something in Ashbery about that 'Soonest Mended' until too late in the morning almost the dawn Minutes: dogwoods Parliaments fire escape, five favorite poets, five favorite poets, Bishop, Dickinson, Crane, Ashbery, Kaufman, long board boys, Dryden, Milton, own poems, taxi cab, Boston -- Boston comes up in a few of my poems, hm -- Christian Dylan and the Shrinks, this is all so private, all so coded, forgive and be forgiven, redemption as sure as we are living.  Now I am as the walking dead having woken up far too early but it was all worth it everything is worth it [...]

How do you know when you’re “done” a poem? I’m not speaking about revision, but rather, the act of writing, particularly lyrical free verse. Donna Masini once described it to me (or a class I was in—can’t remember which), as a settling in the body: a literal sense in the poet’s body that there is no more to write. What a strange way to describe it—yet, I find it has been true with me. I’ll be sitting in front of a computer, write a line, and suddenly, intuitively, I know the poem is finished. It’s a sense of relief, that sighing experience when you’ve just removed a splinter (though the process of removing a poem from your body is usually more pleasurable. Grossman speaks about the silence from which a [...]

See more about Dottie Lasky's POETRY IS NOT A PROJECT here Get it at AWP while the ink is still wet. Available at the UDP portion of the "table X publishing commune."

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

Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

http://www.everyday-genius.com/2010/04/laura-carter.html
is this a poem? i don't know. i don't care. A) she's a poet and greying ghost put out a poetry chapbook of hers B) it's awesome and in terms of its approach to the idea of the lyric i'd say it's probably better than a deal of things i've read in verse. when i say better i want to qualify that: it is inventive and invigorating. inventive may not be the right word. but say this aloud. a lot.

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A voice that cries, “The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.”
—Wallace Stevens, ‘Sunday Morning’