I love keeping track of who is doing what, especially when those “who”s are former interview subjects on the Poetic Asides blog. Joseph Mills and Sandra Beasley have both recently released new collections.
Press 53 published Joseph Mills’ new collection Love and Other Collisions. Mills even mentioned that a few of the poems in this collection were originally written as part of a previous April PAD Challenge on this Poetic Asides blog. How cool is that?
Here is a poem I really liked from his collection:
On Finding Something to Say After a Reading
She stops me at the door to ask if I have any advice
for a young poet, and, for once, before I say something
flip or trite, I ask, “For you?” She nods, and I realize
she probably has been waiting all night to approach.
I try to think what might be useful, something beyond
the usual–“read,” “write,” “listen.” If she isn’t doing
these, telling her won’t help. What about a koan?
Write what the river says to the trees. Write what
hasn’t been written and must be. But I’m no monk.
I could shrug, insist, “No, I don’t,” but she’s waited
too long now. Then I remember how before a game
my coach would say, “Run your ass off. Ignore
the scoreboard and bleachers. And damnit, have fun.”
It reassured us then. Maybe it’s enough for her now.
Learn more about this title at the Press 53 website: www.Press53.com
Sandra Beasley is one of my favorite poets, and Norton recently released her second collection I Was the Jukebox (winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize). I remember discovering Beasley’s work while I was in LA for BEA a few years back. I liked the poems I read in Hotel Amerika so much that I read them to my wife Tammy over the phone. Those poems are actually included in this collection.
Here’s the poem that inspired my original interview with Beasley (click here to read the interview):
He paid me to carry his words
in my mouth–
to give him the cut of sky,
the color of beef.
To give him please.
To give him thank you.
To give him tea kettle, spider, tango.
I ate at his table.
I moved into his basement.
I made a dictionary of sighs–
when to order takeout,
when to play Stravinsky, when
to tell the woman to take her clothes
and go. Soon he was dying.
I can’t breathe, he said, so I said
I can’t breathe. My heart, he said,
so I said My heart. It was my wrist
the nurse held, my chest
under the stethoscope. I’m sorry,
said the doctor, and my throat
became a coffin
they could not open.
Learn more about this title at the Norton website: www.wwnorton.com
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Check out this new title from WD: Showing & Telling, by Laurie Alberts. (Click to continue.)