Today, I lost a friend, a fellow alum of the University of Nebraska’s writing program, Monica Rentfrow. Funny, forward, obnoxious, and progressive, Monica was an amazing poet whose words were both poetic and accessible. Her master thesis, Rethinking Repair, explores the effects of dwarfism on the body—specifically her body—and is full of wonderful poems. Here’s one, apt for today, that her friends are sharing on the networks:
if I could choose
the body & being
of my next life
a lightening bug:
though my wings
might be bent a bit
or legs squashed
from a small hand
cupping me out
of the night air,
and maybe even forget
inside an old jar, it’d be
worth it to see close up
the light in the smile of this child
Open a new tab and go to facebook! While there, post a haiku on the Arbitrary Haiku Day event page.
While winter wears on
Warm minds with words of wisdom,
Wit, and whimsey joy.
Distracted myself from critiquing student poems by reading Walter Mackey’s “I Want to Die” published by Plain Wrap Press. Three things:
- Mr. Mackey, I’m not sure if Robin Williams is able to do anything quietly.
- "bitch where’s my free alcohol" (page 23)
- I laughed loudly, in my office, my new office, again and newish coworkers (I’ve been here for about a month now) probably all think I’m a little crass and uncontrollable. I am both of those things.
From “An Old-Fashioned Song”
We and the trees and the way
Back from the fields of play
Lasted as long as we could.
No more walks in the wood.
Goodbye, John Hollander. We’ll see you again in your poems.
October 28, 1929 - August 17, 2013
Unrest by Chloë Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Chloe Yelena Miller’s chapbook Unrest travels from America, to Italy, to South America with sometimes seemingly simple poems of food, family, love. But these mostly short poems have many untoward subjects beneath: death, loss (love and other loss) mostly. Also sex, which is fun.
Miller impressively plays with language. Sometimes, throughout her poems, but sometimes as definition poems or vocabulary poems. “Italian Vocabulary: Mancanza” tells us what mancanza means, but shows us that something is missing. Between each description of preparing artichokes are synonyms: “A lack,” “A want,” “There is a wanting.” And she finishes the poem after having eaten (and having served?) the artichokes: “I toss the tough leaves into the garden./ I don’t want to lack this.” (Later, there is a poem called, “I Lack You.”)
Finally, the use of food and land throughout make these poems tactile and approachable. Miller’s use of imagery narrates the poems like story, and you wish, reading this, you could taste the food she offers, that you could see the Italy she sees.
And Unrest is an apt title!
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