Thursday, October 14, 2010

Denver Quarterly / J. Mae Barizo / Noah Eli Gordon / The Morning Benders


My life has gotten too busy, how about yours? And money’s tight, of course. So here I sit, constantly seeing things I’d love to spend more time with and unable to.

Now I understand why poets are always talking about retreats and colonies and such. One of these days I’m going to apply for one of those things. I’ll put that on my to-do list. Oh look, that makes it number 14,827 . . .

On the bright side, the new Denver Quarterly has arrived. I always look forward to it, as I know I’ll find something of value. Usually many things.

I’m not very far into it yet, but I’ve already come across a poem (from the back cover, the DQ spot of honor) that is just the sort of poem I wish there were more of:

J. Mae Barizo
Love poem in the shape of a cochlear mechanism

The human ear a plastic thing.
When the boy returned to Kansas City
the ringing where the girl was told him
that America was ruthless and full

of silly coins. There was, inside the
memory, the rumour of a dollhouse;
all the furniture in immaculate order.
When the sound panel exploded a hand

was put forward once, then withdrawn.
The country splintering into a thousand
pieces. What an unruly thing an ear was.
Her voice as well, with its uncertain music.


I find that simply lovely in its execution and both private and social in its thinking. It’s a busy little space that still finds a way to make room for emptiness.

Also in this issue is a fascinating piece I skipped to by Noah Eli Gordon, who’s always fascinating. Here’s how it opens:

There is no refuge from listening to your own silence in the academy, in the pulpit, or in the safety of institutional bureaus and boards. Inflated verbiage ordains one as both braggart and virtuoso. Like the swift flight of a lone sparrow through the banqueting-hall, our art has no comment pivot. It coughs, says a few words, coughs some more, and then returns and leaves us an audience happy to listen elsewhere.


That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far. The rest of the issue promises much, as well. The only question is if I’ll get to it or not.


The Morning Benders, Big Echo

It’s excellent and playing in the background as I type.


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