Tuesday, March 13, 2012

POST NATIVITY by Joe Hall


Publishing Genius 2012.

Here is a book of poems! It is a very very small book of poems, by Joe Hall, excerpted from his forthcoming full-length The Devotional Poems from Black Ocean. This little book came home with me from AWP, and it was very small and patient with me (some other books I brought home were loud! in a good way! but different!) but today I read it on my porch, and if I was already too excited for The Devotional Poems, then now my excitement is definitely unmanageable.

POST NATIVITY is a long poem in 3 parts--at moments it prays, other moments it's drunk and falling over, other moments it's being degraded, other moments it's looking around at the terrifying landscape of our inhabitable (UN-inhabitable?) spaces:

"On a plain of upset bricks, static television screen, a flat emergency
Tone, then the warnings of an angular language ..."

and later:

"The night sky gone berserk with light--O Beast, O Christ"

This little book takes advantage of its small spaces--long lines rollick from darkness into light and back again, into the language of ritual and passage, back down into "LOLOMG, Dear Dave, it's been a hard / couple weeks." And all the way throughout, the eerie shadow of modern global conflict. Our stupid wars. The evening news. The things we can't un-see.

"Pulled by gangs of men in orange jumpsuits
Bags tied over their heads, keeping pace with a falcon turning regular circles
Around an evil sun -- I watched the flame clothe a tree"

Read this stunning, powerful little book & then come over to my apartment and we'll plan activities to pass the time until it's 2013 and we're reading The Devotional Poems. I'll make snacks.

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