055.1: Joshua Marie Wilkinson:: Poem for Julie Carr & Poem for A.C.
28 March 2011
Joshua Marie Wilkinson’s two poems here are both dedications. The first, to fellow poet Julie Carr, compliments by admitting frustration. The second, to the ambiguously named A.C., teeters between happiness and danger in every line. Quick to read, both poems seem deceptively easy. For those of us who have followed Wilkinson’s career, this is the moment when spelunking begins. Wilkinson’s lyrics have the sparse yet rugged qualities of a cave passage twisting here, opening there. His poetry has a tendency of slowing to a crawl and then tumbling into a chasm. In “Poem for Julie Carr”, line breaks spin us around tight corners: verb phrases like “flick off” are split, the bridge’s “wobble” is its own suspension. “Poem for A.C.” speaks with a bravado part macho and part wounded. The intensity of the emotional range is matched only by the tension: there is a sense that the speaker of the poem knows his addressee well enough to claim: “You know the moon might as well fold”. But the “you” remains chimerical. A brother? Keats? An old acquaintance from college? In the end, any answer is glib. Wilkinson’s writing is delightful because there isn’t a switch to flick on in the first place; we explore these dedications in darkness, trusting that his touch will lead us through.