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to a good home....
Received in the mail several copies of Free Poetry, a series of chapbooks edited by Boise State University’s Martin Corless-Smith. The books aren’t copyrighted, and they are distributed gratis. They can be reproduced and shared with any and all readers.


Poets in the series include Paul Hoover, Geraldine Monk, Alan Halsey and Cole Swensen.
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Jeremy Hooker
Reflections on Ground & Seventeen Poems, a 2005 collection from Jeremy Hooker, includes his eloquent “Curlew,” which you can also listen to at www.poetryarchive.org :
Curlew
The curve of its cry—
A sculpture
Of the long beak
A spiral carved from bone.
It is raised
      quickening
From the ground,
Is wound high, and again unwound,
      down
To the stalker nodding
In a marshy field.
It is the welling
Of a cold mineral spring,
Salt from the estuary
Dissolved, sharpening
The fresh vein bubbling on stone.
It is an echo
Repeating an echo
That calls you back.
It looses
Words from dust till the live tongue
Cry: This is mine
Not mine, this life
Welling from springs
Under ground, spiraling
Up the long flight of bone.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
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Sally Keith
Also in the series, Sally Keith's 2008 sequence On the Painting of the View, which begins:
I.
I could not make hin come to me. A dozen times
the fresco dried before I made the face, the face
I'd kiss, my father, standing in the middle
of the marsh, the wind slung low at his feet,
one pink hand against his hip.
We'd met again in early spring. Dead trees rose
like sticks where eventually owls would nest.
The flowers were purple tufts.
The flowers struck us like props.
We were there and not there all at once.
Red swans were gliding in random patterns
knocking their plumage against
one another and occasionally dipping their beaks
breaking the viscous sheen.
We'd gone beneath the leaves so that the rain
never got to us. We knew how it felt—
this feeling before a dream,
knowing a thing we could never touch.
* *
If you're interested in getting copies of Free Poetry, write to Martin Corless-Smith at mcsmith@boisestate.edu

Originally Published: May 29th, 2008

Born in Albany, Georgia, D. A. Powell earned an MA at Sonoma State University and an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His first three collections of poetry, Tea, (1998), Lunch (2000), and Cocktails (2004), are considered by some to be a trilogy on the AIDS epidemic. Lunch was a...

  1. May 29, 2008
     Boyd Nielson

    And the best part, really, is that you don’t even need to have a good home. Hence I got mine.
    If you can’t wait for your hard copies (and you should) you can, I think, download them from: http://www.boisestate.edu/english/mfa/freepoetry.htm For me the Swensen, Monk and Halsey have been really notable. How can you not enjoy poems like this?
    A Looking-Glass for Logoclasts: In Coherence
    Wretched until written words fallen into unknown order.
    This exercise book’s called the Coming Forth By Day.
    This pocketbook’s full to the brim.
    'If your choice London trifle with the Muse
    self may perhaps unawares away.’
    Inchoate in coherence among is or us
    indeterminable butterflies intermittent briefly
    dark as the language which La Belle foretold.
    Immortal lions cribbed by Virgil. We’ll understand English
    when we know why elegance does not owe allegiance.
    Or this duet of John Dee and Edward Kelley?
    JD: Such thumping, shuffing, cluttering and fimbling
    EK: Skriking, strowting, roushing and thumbling
    JD: This was a jolly man when he was king of England
    EK: A Commission was out to attach him for coining of money
    JD: Here is his going into France
    EK: Here is his going into Denmark
    JD: The children fall down dead
    EK: And I begin to write.

  2. May 30, 2008
     Steve

    "Elegance does not owe allegiance": that's right, it's Halsey (your quotation makes it unclear who you quote, alas), and it's great. Matt Hofer at the Univ of NM turned me on to Halsey a few years back-- I've been meaning to read him at length and with patience, and the chapbook makes a good spur.
    It's also NOT DOWNLOADING from the Boise State site (I get errors through Firefox), though the Jeremy Hooker downloads fine. Do those lines from Hooker sound like a slightly smoother Oppen, or is it just me? (Is Oppen everywhere now? Hooker hasn't sounded like Oppen earlier, to me, and Hooker has been publishing for a while.)
    No coincidence by the way that Corless-Smith includes some of the rarely-seen-over-here senior UK avant-garde, since, I believe, he is British (and avant-garde) himself. Worth watching.

  3. May 30, 2008
     bill knott

    . . . does Boise State have any poets
    from Idaho on its faculty?
    *
    and in answer to Boyd Nelson's rhetorical
    question,
    how can I not enjoy poems like this?
    : well, it's pretty effortlessly actually . . .
    *
    i don't like Oppen either for that matter...

  4. May 30, 2008
     bill knott

    ... Boise State can't find any poets from
    Idaho, they have to import this stale hyphen Brit?
    the lines Boyd Neilson quotes are blah to me , , ,
    "How can you not enjoy poems like this?" he
    admonishes: his tone of hectoring impatience is what
    makes so many people hate poetry . . .
    "We'll understand English /
    when we understand why eloquence does not owe allegiance."
    Steve calls that "great" and since Steve is Steve
    and everybody's afraid of him,
    none will refute him . . .
    to me it's worthless verbiage, more bellybutton lint from the endlessly boring
    navel inspections poets indulge themselves in . . .
    the poems quoted by Powell are much better than this Halsey,
    in my opinion . . .
    ten thousand Steves can try to stuff Oppen down
    my ears and i still won't swallow . . .

  5. May 30, 2008
     Don Share

    Yes, Oppen is everywhere now - now that he's 100! Just received a new tome, George Oppen and the Fate of Modernism by Peter Nicholls. I haven't gotten yet to the part that reveals the fate of modernism, but the book draws a lot on unpublished notes and drafts - if you like the daybooks and prose, you'll have to check it out. According to the dust jacket, at least, Oppen's poetix attempts "to avoid what he regards as the errors of the modernist avant-garde and to create instead a designedly 'impoverished' aesthetic which keeps poetry close to the grain of experience and to the political and ethical dilemmas it constantly poses." Your mileage may vary.
    Anyway, the Hooker has a lengthy prose introduction which actually cites Oppen; Hooker says that O. "confirmed my feeling for imagism as a root of modern poetry, and as a technique for transcending momentary perception, and for building sequences and long poems."

  6. May 30, 2008
     bill knott

    ... are any of these chapbook poets
    actually FROM Boise or Idaho?
    if Boise State U is publishing these non-Idaho poets,
    where do the poets from Idaho go
    to get their work published?

  7. May 30, 2008
     bill knott

    ... the U of Montana can't find any
    Montanan poets for its faculty and has
    to hire New York poets,
    and here's Boise State U with this Britpo . . .
    are there any homegrown poets at any
    college or U anywhere?–
    are there any poets who actually LIVE where
    they teach?
    Perloff and Bok may hail this rootlessness
    as the new ideal,
    ergo . . .

  8. May 30, 2008
     Boyd Nielson

    Dear Steve,
    Quite right. Thanks for the clarification. And the Halsey isn’t downloading for me either.
    Dear Bill,
    Wait, you mean that Corless-Smith isn’t from Idaho?
    I do hear though that Boise is going to endow a new Idaho poetry chair in honor of Ezra Pound. There’s also going to be two new dueling theology chairs, one named after C. Van Der Donckt and the other after B.H. Roberts. The latter will be open only to British ex-pats from Utah.

  9. May 31, 2008
     D. A. Powell

    Hi Bill,
    I don't think that universities are under any obligation to hire their faculty locally. A department or program should draw the best faculty in that program or department's field, irrespective of the faculty members' places of origin.
    Maybe to be fair, I should have said that the Free Poetry series is being put out by Martin Corless-Smith, who happens to teach at Boise State University. But I wanted to give the school proper credit for hiring someone who is providing service to the literary community by publishing the work of others.
    National or regional identity may or may not be an aspect of a poet's work useful to the critique of his or her oeuvre. It is perhaps even less interesting to think that a publishing project should define its list first and foremost by its zipcode. "Every artist's strictly illimitable country is himself" said E. E. Cummings. He was referring to Ezra Pound, a poet who, incidentally, was from Idaho. But I'd hardly call Pound an "Idaho poet"--not because it isn't true, but because he seems to draw from so many other places. Including St. Elizabeth's.