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Doug Waxes Poetic

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

Doug has been writing wonderful book blurbs for the store. This latest collection is all poetry. We'll let Doug speak for himself as he waxes poetic.

Discovering my father’s secret love affair with an author was a beautiful thing. Her book is poetry itself in so many ways. All following Lindbergh’s this week are poetry collections. Two of them follow up on my claims re the top three to read this year. But every time I turn around there is another spectacular poet! I find I must read a poet’s poems I’ve never heard of and taste something new. Keeps me fresh! Entering the deep dark and pages full of mystery is an adventure worth taking in the final selection. Kudos to Coffee House Press and their superb art layouts while releasing firsts only in paperback. An all poetry blurb, and even Annie Morrow’s work qualifies.

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Some books never fade. This slim volume was always hiding in dad’s library (which doubled as my bedroom in the New York house I grew up in). Late in his life, after learning that he liked to read Gift every year, I asked him, “so Dad, how come you’re so fond of this feminist author?” He laughed, and said, “the only thing that matters to me is that it’s great writing.” He left me copies of all fourteen of Annie’s books and letters in their first editions. And, speaking of poetry, one line jumps off the page as I re-read it, “I am content. I sit down at my desk, a bare kitchen table with a blotter, a bottle of ink, a sand dollar to weight down one corner, a clam shell for a pen tray, the broken tip of a conch, pink-tinged, to finger, and a row of shells to set my thoughts spinning.”

In the Lateness of the World by Carolyn Forché

How do I even begin accounting for how much this work means to me. It required three readings following acquisition of the “uncorrected proof” (ARC). The second was about my technical curiosity as to what changed in the final edition. I only found a few hyphens were extracted. In the third reading I went searching for a line or two to share with you. There are too many, how could one choose? But these two, from “The Ghost of Heaven” haunt me:

You will be asked who you are. Eventually, we are all asked

who we are.

The Nightfields by Joanna Klink

What a discovery—this poet. I enter a dream-state when I read her poems. She gets how lines work, and the rhythm of breaths, and how to mesmerize me into a hunger for more. I felt as if I were the “you” to whom she speaks. What a gift!

Stranger by Night: Poems by Edward Hirsch

I’ve been reading Hirsch since his first book. He never disappoints—even when you hear rumors of how he’s done with poetry. This is my number three must-read poetry pick of the year.

The Malevolent Volume by Justin Phillip Reed

Even the title calls to me with its dark splendor. I want to know about the man with the stag head on the cover. The poems must be read aloud. Me–I’m no hip-hop artist, no rapper—and yet, I’m bouncing on the language, feeling the accentuation, the beat, articulating the pain, the climb, feeling the sorrow. This is, as you know, a moment for black men. And certainly, for gay black men. Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw developed the theory of intersectionality. It helps free and lift Reed to a well-earned esteem. After reading these poems, and the books chosen to blurb about next week, I am considering a shirt that says:

Take Your Knees off my Brothers’ and Sisters’ Necks!

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