Every day for the entire duration of the National Poetry Month, I will try to post short write-ups about poetry books that I like.
Post for April 1 is about the fantastic book by Peg Duthie.
Author: Peg Duthie
Publisher: Upper Rubber Boot Books
To buy from Amazon
Measured Extravagance is a refreshing blend of esoteric facts, dark humor, and nostalgia. We start with a striking cover that may be suggestive of how we can conjure something organic -- like feathers from an Erlenmeyer flask.
What I admire most about this book is Peg Duthie’s masterful treatment of highly politicized topics (such as the political inclinations of well-known scientists) into a non-politically-correct lattice. “A Particular Truth—1941” is a fine example. Its thematic kin is the unforgettable series of poems by John Canaday here.
“Devotion” is remarkably tender:
perfuming the hands of his wife as she strokes
the dreaming cat.
In “Deep and Crisp and Even,” Duthie talks about the unruly “language of desserts” where
We love the one slice too many, the body's
sleepy struggle to house so much
In "Gift Shop, St. Peter in Gallicantu, Jerusalem," Duthie speaks of the energy of material things and how they define us:
Who knows what happens next, to the bags--
too small for utility, too strange for luxury--
do they languish for years in kitchen drawers
or become the knapsacks of dolls?
My most favorite piece in this engrossing collection is “She Says, Follow the Graves.” It successfully weaves mythical elements and the quest for eternal life. It is capped by a powerful closing line.
Here are the emotionally jarring opening lines of “She Says, Follow the Graves.”
There are special hollows for the unmended: the unclosable
wound, the irreparably scarred Queen of Spades
worn out from too many unspeakable tricks.
Measured Extravagance delivers. What a gorgeous collection!
Yesterday, I read Leyna Krow's story "Tiger, Tiger" in the gorgeous Fall 2011 issue of Sou'wester. You know that feeling when everything snaps in place? That's how I felt after reading "Tiger, Tiger," the story of a couple who suspect that their neighbor keeps a tiger inside a cage. Their attempts to find the tiger tell the reader so much about the couple; the thrill of actually finding the tiger, if the tiger really exists, only serves as a backdrop. And this is only one story in the 50 years that is Sou'wester! I received this issue for free because I had work included in the previous issue. One of the perks of the small presses, once in a while, something arrives in the mail (a book, a magazine, a postcard, etc.), and it makes me stop questioning why I'm doing what I'm doing. :D
My book, We Bury the Landscape, received a wonderful review from Michelle Bailat-Jones at Necessary Fiction. I was also invited to participate in Research Notes by the kind Steve Himmer, author of the novel The Bee-Loud Glade (I plan to review it on Goodreads and Amazon soon).
So many kind book bloggers also posted reviews of my book on Goodreads and on their blogs.
I have projects underway, too. What a good year this 2012 is turning out to be...
Another must-read! On my bedside table is Theodore Carter's The Life Story of a Chilean Sea Blob. I took a peek at the first story. It looks like it's about a kid who can walk on water, and his magical walk on water is probably due to parenting neglect! I'm so going to love this!
I had the pleasure of reading the early version of Tears for Rahul Dutta, a short collection of interrelated stories by my writer-friend, Gaurav Monga. I'm so glad to see it being published by Philistine Press.
Meditations of a Beast
Age of Blight
A Roomful of Machines
We Bury the Landscape