By Shaileen B.
It's the perfect pre-Valentine's Day evening event for anyone in a romance with language: Poetry & Conversation on Tuesday, February 12. Reading from their poems and answering our questions, Adam Robinson & Chris Mason will remind us of the magic that can be worked by words.
In an advance Q&A, Adam Robinson talked about some of his poetic loves.
What book are you reading now?
Right now I'm rereading Matthew Savoca's "I Don't Know," I Said for the fourth (fifth?) time. It's a great novel about America and these two sad and adventurous 20-somethings. I'm putting it out in April through my press, Publishing Genius. I'm going through the advance copy and finding little bitty things to improve. It's a lot of fun.
What three books would you take to a desert island?
Such a hard question. I have to say the Bible, so really I only have two choices. I guess I could finally finish Infinite Jest. People say that's pretty good. And then, since it's been sitting next to me for a month, and since I think it would go really well with the Bible, my third book would be the new BOA Editions Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton.
What is one poem by someone else that you wish you had written?
I keep going back to James Wright's poem "Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm." It is flat but it is elegant, and the last line makes it necessary to go back and rethink the whole poem, or to be grandiose the whole world. (Don't watch this video. It's too weird. Just listen to it.)
What recently published or forthcoming books do you recommend?
Aside from that massive Lucille Clifton collection, lovers of poetry should check out Emily Toder's new book Science (from Coconut Books). It's a brisk and surprising collection. Here's the first poem, "The Problem of Water."
Do you have a favorite line of poetry or sentence from a poem?
There's a title by local writer Megan McShea that's been going through my head for months. It's "Crap Collapse on the Slow Channel." I mean, come on. It's total wow, every line in that poem. Megan writes the sort of writing I don't want to write about with actual words. Check this out, from "Short for Halpert": "Hal got a mushy schmutz stuck under his floorboards, but he bungled a bottle not hid too good, realizing once he done it how it hadn't just been his only chance, but his right hand, wasted fudge rumpled under an Alka-Seltzer. I'm a pigeon! I'm a pigeon! called one of the kids..." Her book, A Mountain City of Toad Splendor, is coming out on March 19.
Please share a poem with our readers.
My childhood home would fall from the blue
Sky with my childhood dog inside it but
My third apartment would just hang there that
Dull apartment would bang poof and fwip away to
My roommates who would leap and free
Fall all their limbs awave afrantic their
Hands smelling like sandwiches their
Milk spilling from glasses corking through that blue
Sky the sentence "Here's one for the mouth stomach" would
Fall our vacation in China would wind a giddy path down
Into our sad memories of sad memorials and
My inability to say anything in Chinese like
Cesuo, which means toilet
sezwo, chesoo I cannot say it
When my childhood house fell from the sky my
Childhood dog ran through the rooms yelping my
Mother trilled The William Tell Overture and
We pathed down the sky with grace tumbling
For more Poetry & Conversation, come to the Poe Room of the Central Library on February 12 at 6:30 p.m.
Follow Adam Robinson @PubGen, & follow @librarypoems for updates about poetry at the Pratt Library. Join the conversation at #PrattPoetry.