Tag Archives: Bruce Beasley


One of the many reasons I admire A.E. Stallings’ “Sestina: Like” and Bruce Beasley’s “Year’s End Paradoxography” so much is that the modern technology/modern world is integrated in those two poems in the way farmland or city streets or the human body are in so many other poems — thoroughly, and as metaphor, and amongst other topics, and not called out per se, and in ways that feel (though only time will tell on this point) like the poems will survive with their strengths intact even after the technology they engage with has moved into obsolescence.

Based on my admittedly totally unscientific general sense of the poetry I myself read, a flip through the Best American 2012 anthology, and some poking about this week in the searchable online poem databases of the Poetry Foundation and The Academy of American Poets, I feel I can say (until proven otherwise — please feel free to bring my attention to other poems in the comments box below) that current-day technology doesn’t show up as much in contemporary poems as you’d think it would. Continue reading

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Beasley / Biespiel / Jensen / Friebert

A short look at: Bruce Beasley’s Theophobia  (2012), David Biespiel’s Wild Civility (2003), Laura Jensen’s Memory (1982) and Stuart Friebert’s Funeral Pie (1996).

One of the (oh so many) things that drives me nuts about statements like, “I don’t like poetry” or “I could just never get into poetry” is the underlying idea there that poetry is a single thing. It’s like saying, “I don’t like movies” or “I don’t like food.” Just because I can’t stand beets (I really can’t stand beets) doesn’t mean I’m going to write off all red foods, or all food. You could say a strawberry and a beet look sorta the same, couldn’t you? But the taste?

One of the things that struck me reading these four collections (all of which I like) is how vastly different their use of language is, what a nice spectrum of diction they represent. Friebert and Jensen all use very everyday vocabulary. In “Pocket Gopher,” Stuart Friebert writes, Continue reading

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2012: A Short Look Back At What I Read

Before the look back, a quick look forward. Coming soon (or eventually) in 2013:

  • Reviews of collections by James Arthur, Bruce Beasley, David Biespiel, Stuart Friebert, Laura Jensen, A. E. Stallings, and Wendy Willis
  • Posts about William Matthews’ and Christian Wiman’s poetry
  • The afore-mentioned monthly look at an animal poem (replacing 2012’s Months posts)
  • Some more extensive film reviews on occasion, in addition to the short ones you can always find, frequently updated, on the Film page

Now for the requisite (and for all it’s cliché to do so, enjoyable) quick look back at the reading I did this year. (I stuck the Worst in the middle, because I didn’t want to end on a low note). Continue reading

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Bruce Beasley’s “Me Meaneth”

Bruce Beasley’s “Me Meaneth” (Kenyon Review, Summer 2011 issue — the one with the wonderful photo of a lizard-hatted woman on the cover) made me say to myself, after reading the last stanza the first time, “This is why I read contemporary poetry.” (You’ll find the poem in its entirety after the jump, with kind permission from the author.)

It’s a long poem (but it doesn’t feel long) that brought me, at the end, to a place I absolutely did not expect, but was completely prepared, by the poem, to come to. Such a fantastic feeling, as a reader, to simultaneously have a completely surprising moment and realize just how thoroughly the poem’s been setting you up for it all along.

“Me Meaneth” is seven sections mulling over the idea of meaning sparked by 2 lines from an old Scottish poem — “The speaned lambs mene their mithers/As they wimple ower the bent” — the meaning of the individual words, and the meaning of meaning too, among other things (a summary of a poem is a necessary evil, though how much is inherently left out is kind of like nails on a chalkboard to me).

Continue reading

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