After initially reading Rusty Morrison’s poetry, I found it impossible to associate her lyrical, controlled verse with Bataille, philosopher of excess and waste, whom she quotes in each poem. And yet, the more I read through these pieces, the more I realize Morrison’s control renders the central concepts of death, touch, and otherness meaningful. Each of these words—its own carved deity—represents a figure for belief that tries desperately to explain suffering. Poetry’s failure scars each piece, but Morrison promises the words will continue. The poet listens, reads Bataille, to care for the great-grandmother even as death’s process continues unabated. Like the old woman boiling in an enormous pot, we embody death as we live, leaving behind ash wherever we wander. Morrison’s poetry asks that we see the squalor of living death and have the courage for tenderness, an epistemology of common suffering: “an eye as white as the lantern/I light inside pain/to know it.”
To those readers who have faithfully read along with us for forty-six issues, and to those readers who have just arrived for the first time, we thank you for making this first year of publication successful and enjoyable. With the holidays fast approaching, and friends and family taking time out of their busy lives to enjoy a few moments of rest and community, we here at The Offending Adam are likewise hitting the pause button so that we can fully enjoy the holiday season. Fear not, though, dear readers: TOA returns with punch and power Monday, January 24. Until then, here are a selection of works that we have published in 2010, to either read for the first time if you missed them, or to rediscover.