Saturday, March 24, 2007

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Paige Ackerson-Kiely


Awesome Bones (unrelated to Paige A-K)


The reading at Earshot was weird/fun! Ana B-B was awesome, handsdown. I also learned that if you are from South Africa and write fiction, you can use the phrase "practically prancing" in your story and think it's ok.

I've been reading Paige Ackerson-Kiely's debut book, "In No One's Land." You can see the author photo before. It's creepy & great. It set me up for some dissappointment (yes, double s, double p). Some lines took me there, but for the most part, not really. I really only want to talk about books I've enjoyed, but something weird happened to me when I was reading this so:

I'm pasting below a poem by Paige that was in Jubilat:

From the Understudy

If you would look at me I would show you something.
The size of it. The size of it, ask any man and it is this big.
I don't really know what interests you, but by watching
the tick of your wrist by your side I could drum up
a thousand doves assured over Palestine, beaks tweaking
it is yours, undoubtedly. What mine. Dovecote. White
woolen snow a shameful cage on the ground. Grass
bent in grief owned by this sharecropper. Knock knock
who's there? The door is a trestle and the water's low.
My love's a gothic push straight out of the University
of Chicago. I should have asked your name. I should
have said your name out loud and answered yes?


Now, I kept wanting to turn her poems into other poems. Normally I'm interested in the twists and turns poems take, trying to infer why someone decides to go down a certain poem path, and even if I don't agree, I have enough distance to respect the decision (maybe I'm lying, I'm not sure yet). Normally, if I don't like an entire poem but there are specific fantastic lines I may make a pencil mark by the margin so that I can find the line later and read it to someone or send a little tidbit in a letter. I do this alot, actually, and probably most people do. I can still lend the book out without having my marks be a distraction, but if the reader wants to, they can note the lines that rocked my world by the little pencil marks. But I didn't want to do that with these poems, I kind of wanted to cross stuff out like the government does before they give you back your blackened files.

Since not many people read my blog, and what I say doesn't hold any weight, I'm going to show you how I wanted to change the poem above and assume that there is no consequence for doing this. Since it was just my activity on the subway ride:

If you would look at me I would
show you. I could drum up
a thousand shameful beaks.
White woolen snow a doved cage,
bent in the grief owned by sharecroppers.
Knock on the water's low.
I should have said your name
out loud. Bent grass is what is mine.

Unless a poem is full of crap, what we want to change about a poem mostly just reveals something about ourselves. What have I revealed to you today?

So, now I'll give you nice lines from this same collection:

"The fields to the left and right
full of glassy blackbirds"

"A man is known by his hunger"

"The father art
A picnic table
And a son standing awkwardly to the side"

"Good people, raise your cameras."

"sad little loaf that you are"

"I swear I would run to you if not for these legs loping & coming back together as you might punch at the air in front of someone's face, then laugh generously."

"my gnashing children"

Now I'm off the subway. It's a beautiful day, warmer than I could have hoped.
I'm feeling very "two steps forward, one step back" today.

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