We're gearing up for our favorite holiday over here: Mother's Day. This is a holiday we can really get behind— no religious affiliation, it's all about us, and involves chocolates and a floral tribute. What's not to love?
For those of you who haven't finished your holiday shopping, Garrison Keillor recommends writing a sonnet, while our multi-talented Crucial Rooster columnist, *Reb Livingston, has a few other nifty gift ideas.
Crucial Rooster: Poetry Column by Reb Livingston
School is wrapping up, we’re tending to our feet again and on our way to the supermarket we’re being terrorized by Hummer-limousines speeding towards prom. What does this all mean? It means it’s time to hit the chapbooks. My house is littered with these lovely and inspired, unique little books. Nearly impossible to decide which ones to write about here – it’s like going to the animal shelter and trying to pick a kitten – you want all of them, except for that one that keeps licking his weird puffy eye – we’re going to try to put that one out of our minds.
It’s almost Memorial Day, you’re distracted by exaggerating tweety birds and plagiarizing bumble bees and the thick scent of all-beef wieners and BBQ chicken nearly choke us all. It’s called The Spectacle of Meat and it’s a new limited-edition chapbook by Maureen Thorson, her first venture from her spanking press, Big Game Books. The bigger the game, the more serious the risk and as "they" say, no pain, no gain and Thorson doesn’t mess around when it comes to book binding. She’s a hardcore do-it-yourselfer. This woman sheds blood creating books. What’s the last thing you shed blood for?
Not sure you’d like poems about meat? Don’t go vegetarian on me now, everyone saw you snarf that bacon at the breakfast buffet, you’re not fooling anyone with your “only an occasional piece of fish” line. Of course you’re going to like these poems. You’re going to like “The Meat Magi” that goes as follows:
“Even the manicured lawns / And polka-dotted mushrooms / Seem to pop, to suddenly declare, // “Hey, look! It’s some meat!”
When you’re finished with your meat, you can wash it down with some Whole Milk (effing press, $6) by Jim Goar. Another gorgeous chapbook from effing press. There’s meat in there too, hot dogs and turkey and Big Macs. Is it about meat or is it about milk? I’m not here to explain the meaning of poetry, so how about I give you a sneak peek of the beginning of the first piece:
”A tree sprouted from my penis. The red faced bird came to nest. When I found auburn leaves on my sheets I encouraged the bird to go. It claimed squatters rights. I called the police. They summoned a lumberjack. This was not the outcome either of us desired. Now the red faced bird visits on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
Summertime isn’t all BBQ and penis foliage, it’s also about traveling and the beach – and heart-ache. Dusie editor, Susana Gardner's chapbook to stand to sea (the tangent press, $5) reminds us to think twice about getting that tattoo of our lover's name:
"the sea you / dragged me in from the sea / you hauled me out of four / your very own // with the knotted net / at my waisted loosened the / useless hooks in my sides / unfastened you brushed off / the marshy stamen and / flotsam weed in / sweeps -- while I stood / speechless and stunned / I stood inarticulate and // dumb--wasted little sea wrack-- / soon brided flippant and blind--the rivers tidal / conference with the / Atlantic hissed my repressed and / strange dialectic"
I have a repressed and strange dialect too, but that not due to a failed love affair, but from growing up in Pittsburgh.
Next month, more amazing poetry finds. If you’ve been playing along at home, you should have quite an impressive collection by now. While all your dull and uninspiring pals are filling their shelves with weary books recommended by big name publications in bed with corporate-run publishing houses, you have the 411 on the true poetry deals. You’re welcome.