Tuesday, July 07, 2009

TIGHT 5 - Boyer Rickel

The new issue of TIGHT is now available:


I’m fascinated by it. And it’s reintroduced me to the work of Boyer Rickel. I’d seen a few things of his over the years, but this time his work caught me at just the right angle, or something. Anyway, here are a couple of his poems from the issue (there are five total):


The desperate will consider a boat made of ice.

The one in love, the fool, for whom the boundaries have disappeared.

The teacup spoke, the chair, the brass doorknob, the child ascribing consciousness to every object in the room.

You feel as though you play the role of nothing, that you fail to show up for your own life.

Having seen the stars once (the clouds closing over), the old man sailed (what else could he do?) as though he knew the coordinates.

Glass houses.

“I was a bit like paint or plaster—living matter, that which allowed him to create,” said the model.

And what does this word suffering taste of?

The survivor said she’d escaped death only to discover she was no longer alive.

Streets with their knowable ends; roads inviting us to leave.

Your change of tone a shock, like missing a step.

+ + +

I just love the rapid perspective changes of these poems. It’s a way he’s been writing for a bit of time now, and (though I’ve just ordered it so I can’t say for sure) other poems in this form can be found in remanence, which came out from Parlor Press in 2008.

Here’s what Rae Armantrout writes about it:

“As Ron Silliman has written, ‘Attention is all.’ The poems in remanence are supremely attentive to the world-or rather to the traces it leaves in our brains. They also make a study of misperception and error. This is a form of meditation. Much of the book is composed of five-line poems, each long line a semi-separate thought, a probe. Each a kind of echolocation. Gently, insistently, they bring us news of our position.”

I got curious, and went looking around, and found this (below) from an interview with Boyer Rickel on remanence, posted on: Christopher Nelson's Poetry Blog:

“In this case, I aimed to write poems that were broken, that were discontinuous, that had gaps, that had ellipses. Line break was critical to momentum in forty-five figures, so for the new poems I wanted the sentence to be the line. And because I wanted the material to collect, to accrue, to accumulate, not to move rapidly and be connected, I needed a space between each of the poem sentences. Then titles became extremely important. I had to have titles because the individual sentences, I had decided, would be as different as they could be from one another: some would be very abstract; some concrete in detail; some might have a personal pronoun; some would not; there wouldn’t be a story or argument offered. Each sentence was to work off the title and have some resonance internally. So then I found myself in patterns: for example, I reached a point where I would write second sentences that answered ironically, or even in some direct way, first sentences. But I gave myself the right to revise, and I simply moved the sentences around. Sometimes I would have my five sentences, but it would take me a very long time to determine their order.”


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