“Maybe I am slightly inhuman… all I ever wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house.” -- Edward Hopper, whose 126th birthday was a few days ago
On the journal PHOEBE's website, Two reviews of Black Ocean titles and an interesting response to a speech given by David Wojahn, the recipient of O.B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Award, which recognizes “a poet’s teaching as well as his art.” I'd like to get my hands on the transcript of that speech.
If you have not yet ordered Doxsee's book, then you must do so right now.
Undersleep by Julie Doxsee
Cole Swensen & Eleni Sikelianos blurb Doxsee's book (below) and in doing so, both independently compare her poetry to sparks from a fire. I think this is apropos, as when I read Undersleep, I felt as though her poems were written in the afterglow of a bizarre explosion. Everything looks familiar, but bathed in a deep sense of alterity. As though I woke up standing in the middle of my yard, & there is Doxsee, waiting in the corner where the grass is tallest, under the red clouds & yellow tree bark, ready to explain to me what happened & where we will go next. Welcome to Undersleep, a luminous world, just step out & leave your yard.
This is one of my favorite poems, Continuum (all the short couplets should be indented but I got no html skills):
Attribute the color of
blue trees to
the blue bird
atrophying in your skull.
I negotiate rib
and low lamp
with the backdrop of
near your head. Envy me
ghostly. Along the scrim,
you close in
on the slow
hand blackening electricity,
as a night light.
Octopus Books 2008
Go, go buy it here: www.octopusbooks.net
In her debut collection, Julie Doxsee's finely wrought lyric poems create a world operating according to the rules of dream-logic. Both exquisite and unsettling, her poems twist the reader with every line break and surprise of language.
Born in London, Ontario, Julie Doxsee is a professor of writing and literature at Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey. She is the author of the chapbooks The Knife-Grasses (Octopus Books), and Fog Quartets (horse less press). Forthcoming publications include the book Objects for a Fog Death (Black Ocean) and two chapbooks: You Will Build a City Out of Rags (Whole Coconut) and New Body a Seafloor Body (Seeing Eye Books).
Praise for Undersleep:
Spare, bright, and sharp these poems spark, tossing up unexpected words, making strange connections, inventing vocabulary, and in general, cracking open the natural world and letting us watch it tick. Intimate and worldly at the same time, Julie Doxsee is a surprising and deeply gifted poet, and this, her first book, glows in the dark.
These are the secret nighttime children's tales that parents aren't allowed to read, the winking sparks sent up from the bonfire. They flicker into a vast vaulted space where all is black around. Here, the body of language is stripped of its flesh. And the poem-bones begin to dance—the joints of human language and its articulations. It's a little bit scary.
Ok, I'm reading this Saturday. Please come. If you come, I will dedicate every poem to you. Yes, you. Also, I will give you a hi-5. Also, there will be food and booze (for those of you who need enticement).
Party Poetry Reading
Saturday, July 26th 8pm-midnight
456 Bergen Street, Brooklyn
& Kimberly Lyons
Eat Party Snacks
Also, have you seen the most useful blog in the world? Daily updates as to whether Ron Silliman has updated his own blog (and the link): http://ronsillimanupdate.blogspot.com/
So, hopefully I will see you at the Friday reading or the Saturday reading. Also, by Doxsee's book and then let's have a book group about it, Oprah-style.