Monday, October 05, 2009

Kevin Prufer on Poetry Daily

So anyway, I’ve been critical of Poetry magazine here and there. It’s mostly been about its retrograde tone, and less about its inclusions than its exclusions. But I’ve noticed a change recently. Not a huge change, but it is more inclusive. Like today, for instance, on Poetry Daily, I came across this poem, which I like quite a bit. (Disclaimer: Kevin Prufer is a friend of mine. Even so, it’s a very nice poem. Just thought I’d share.) (PS. Does this mean there's hope for The New Yorker?)

In a Beautiful Country

A good way to fall in love
is to turn off the headlights
and drive very fast down dark roads.

Another way to fall in love
is to say they are only mints
and swallow them with a strong drink.

Then it is autumn in the body.
Your hands are cold.
Then it is winter and we are still at war.

The gold-haired girl is singing into your ear
about how we live in a beautiful country.
Snow sifts from the clouds

into your drink. It doesn't matter about the war.
A good way to fall in love
is to close up the garage and turn the engine on,

then down you'll fall through lovely mists
as a body might fall early one morning
from a high window into love. Love,

the broken glass. Love, the scissors
and the water basin. A good way to fall
is with a rope to catch you.

A good way is with something to drink
to help you march forward.
The gold-haired girl says, Don't worry

about the armies, says, We live in a time
full of love. You're thinking about this too much.
Slow down. Nothing bad will happen.

Kevin Prufer

October 2009


At 10/05/2009 9:42 AM, Blogger Rauan Klassnik said...

i've long had a soft spot for the poetry of Kevin Prufer. thanks for reposting this one.

At 10/05/2009 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a lovely poem, but hardly indicative of a "change" in POETRY. This is no different in tone/style/theme than 90% of what they publish. Plus, Prufer is a "made" man--jeesh. Again, I like him--but he was what, boss of the NBCC?
I mean POETRY--they had a flarf issue--a concrete poetry issue--translation issues--a manifesto issue--if that's retrograde, they're never going to get you. Who do they exclude? BTW--I thought those issues--flarf, concrete--were horrid. They were like that old guy (me!) at the bar, swinging his hips to XX.

At 10/06/2009 11:15 AM, Anonymous Ali said...

I really like this poem; thanks. I've been thinking about subscribing to Poetry--they sent me a $20 special that sits and patiently watches me from a spot on my desk. Perhaps I'll do something about it one of these days.

At 10/06/2009 2:06 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

AH, the change or not change in POETRY. Well, I think over the past what, year or two, POETRY has been nudged a bit away from what's the word for what it was doing? Well, Silliman would call it Quietude, and he'd probably say it's STILL publishing Quietude, so it's not quite that . . . but the poets they're starting to publish have moved the center - if POETRY could be called the center - a bit from the center of Quietude (I wish I didn't have to use that term) toward the more interesting (to me at least) edge of "less sepia-toned autobiography" and "more specifically imagined, metaphorical writing."

Or something like that. As for the FLARF and CONCEPTUAL stuff, well, POETRY is kind of thinking of itself as a newspaper of poetry, and, well, not all the news is good news, perhaps. But I applaud the move.

POETRY is still much less than it could be (I'm available to guest edit!), but it's much more than it was five years ago.

At 11/20/2009 11:45 PM, Blogger Eden said...

Ok. Guys I am new at the whole "knowing what the poem says" thing. So could you help me out a bit. I liked it a lot and would like more info about it. Thanks.


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