050.1: Amorak Huey:: A Death & Daffodils & Dorothy Visits & A Partial Short-Faced Bear
21 February 2011
I used to drink with a guy in grad school, and at one point in a long night of cheap pitchers, we resolutely decided that there were only two kinds of poets—poets who we marveled at their technical ability and poets who we wanted to drink beers with. They were rarely the same. We decided that we wanted to be somewhere in the middle: strong poets who could a break a line like no other motherfuckers and poets who, when you read our work, you wanted to get drunk with. Ah, grad school, when there were no worries, and nights were devoted to sussing out flawed, youthful arguments. I remembered that night after coming across Amorak Huey’s poems, discovering that he is that kind of poet—both talented and personable on the page. For this week, I would like to amend the model: there are poems you want to get beers with, these poems. These are talky poems, poems that tell good stories, that put their hands on your shoulder and bring their mouths close to your ear and tell you the most marvelous things, secrets. These are poems that know they are poems and constantly nod at that fact. One of the reasons this is so prevalent is that Huey’s subjects are often normal folk capable of moments of intense intrinsic beauty and introspection, which he handles with delicacy and care. Although, I guess you couldn’t really call Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz normal folk. These poems are like a good long night out, those nights that always begin with the question: Where are we going? What happens is like that night, too—something is lost, someone cries, a good joke is turned and turned in on itself, and in the end something has changed into something you could never imagine.