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Jake Adam York
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A guest in another’s house, I am admiring, marveling at his taste, her taste, or I am simply curious, noticing a peculiarity of the house or the housekeeping, discovering some device I wonder how I’ve done without. I appreciate the ways my hosts have made a place for their guest—a packaged toothbrush left in the medicine cabinet, a note left next to the television—even as I enter the practice and rhythm of their lives, their house, when coffee is made and offered, when a bottle of spirit is brought, when breakfast, when dinner, and become a part of that family... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
A guest in another’s house, I am admiring, marveling at his taste, her taste, or I am simply curious, noticing a peculiarity of the house or the housekeeping, discovering some device I wonder how I’ve done without. I appreciate the ways my hosts have made a place for their guest—a packaged toothbrush left in the medicine cabinet, a note left next to the television—even as I enter the practice and rhythm of their lives, their house, when coffee is made and offered, when a bottle of spirit is brought, when breakfast, when dinner, and become a part of that family... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
In yesterday’s elliptical post, I was thinking persistently about how reading an anthology, like any one of the Best American Poetry volumes, introduces various crises of knowledge and confidence—how an anthology forces me to change. As one poem is different from the preceding, I have to shift my expectations, to reset my reading mind. As one poet’s idea or ideas about poetry are different from those of the preceding or the following, I often have to move into another space. It would be easy to read a book or a journal with a clear idea of what I admire or... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Once I started to get poems published, my grandmother would ask to see a poem. Always she’d say: That’s not poetry: it doesn’t rhyme. * People say this: Now that’s poetry. Think Crocodile Dundee: That’s not poetry. Now that’s poetry. * Are we beset with false poetry, pretend poetry, spurious poetry? Do we dream of a poetry FDA to protect us from the color of rusted nails? * Introduced at a party as a poet, one question follows more readily than any other: Really? What kind of poetry do you write? * Narrative, lyric, epic, topographical, informatic, aleatory, elliptical… *... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Yesterday, I sat down to the phone in my office to call a poet I very much admire (however quietly) to see if an essay he’d sent to Copper Nickel was still available. Generally speaking, Dean Young’s sentiment about the phone—“I hate the phone, how it pretends to be / your friend” (“Upon Hearing of My Friend’s Marriage Breaking Up,” see BAP 1994)—encapsulates my feeling, but at times the phone brings good news and is a friend, so, as Young wrote, “I called you anyway.” I expected, as the great Jeanne Lieby wrote in her piece “Why I Call,” that... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
I’m relocating to Atlanta in a few weeks. The plan is to work on a book—cultural studies meets poetics—about the ways contemporary art thinks about Civil Rights History. I’m shipping a few boxes, but mostly I have to limit myself to whatever I can fit in the Jeep between everything else I need to live. Choosing which books to bring is a doomed project. Determining which books to bring for the prose project is not that hard, and I’ll have a university library behind me, so the pressure there isn’t too severe. Selecting poetry books, on the other hand... Some... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Last week, my wife and I snuck away into the mountains. I packed only one book. The plan was to read the land—penstemon, aster, Indian paintbrush, lupin, aspen, lodgepole, spruce—and come back to the books and e-mails and blogs after a few days completely offline. But in the lodge where we stayed two nights, the sign for the “Library” caught my eye, and I couldn’t resist a quick inventory of the shelves. In retrospect, it makes sense: the lodge is kind of a toney place, and the library is stacked by or for the toney sorts who frequent it (this... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
The blog, so often, is about now. But I am here, as Terrance Hayes writes, “because I never could get the hang of time.” • I wanted to begin my stay as guest blogger by pulling off the shelf Best American Poetry 1990, the first of the Best American Poetry volumes I bought. I don’t remember where I bought it, but in the summer 1991 the most likely source was the Bookland franchise in the Gadsden Mall in Gadsden, Alabama—the only bookstore in town. I had begun college the year before, with the idea of becoming an architect, but by... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2011 at The Best American Poetry