114.1: Adam Clay:: For My Country, Lost & Mighty Suggestion & On the Radio & Only a Phase
17 September 2012
The other day a lover left me. The relationship was stalling out and I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming. But I wanted to pull the trigger and do the leaving. Que sera, I guess. Why do I bring this up? Well, I’m mopey and a bit hungover and have no one to talk to and am now sitting in a coffee shop with all these bright-eyed Teach For America kids chattering around me while I read and reread Adam Clay’s poems for this week. It is impossible to read the lines—for instance the first line of the first poem: “I didn’t want to own, claim, or defend you”—and not think of my former lover, maybe all of our lovers. In these poems lies an absence and a filling: something has been here, taken this shape, and now left. With this selection, we are left with an odd sense of viewing a disaster site—surveying the destruction and performing our reckoning—while knowing another storm is on its way. The word I keep returning to is threat. These poems are threatening. My lover knew I was leaving and I knew my lover was leaving. We watched each other steely-eyed waiting for the break, storms looming. We were cornered. Like the speaker here, we were also numb and irresponsible: “Here is a couplet of forgiveness / I was asked to pass along.” Threatening and threatened and washing our hands of it. We were at least more threatening than the young teacher next to me in the “Virginia Is for Lovers” shirt. No, teach, Adam Clay is for lovers.
114.2: Kelli Anne Noftle:: “Anything Becomes a Part of Where It Is if You Take It and Put It There”: William Stobb, Michael Heizer, and Articulated Absences
20 September 2012