Poets in New York, 3 of 6
The Heaven-Sent Leaf by Katy Lederer, BOA Editions, 2008
Her new book, The Heaven-Sent Leaf , shows Lederer in her most independent mode.
The writing in this book is characterized by mostly short-lined lyrics that focus on the hard-to-read and interpenetrating economies of emotion, ethics (if ethics might be considered a modeling of spiritual life), and money. It is so unfashionably incisive and regardless of current poetry trends, so attentive to ordinary urban sociology, its originality is felt as necessary. (And suddenly, it is painfully timely). The writing has a casual associative brilliance (see the poem below) that makes it all the more unnerving, emotionally accurate, and convincing.
These three bridges, like the brain, lit up and heading out toward
I am slumped in the cab, thinking heady thoughts of heady things.
Like an ostrich. Or like an intellectual thriller.
For example, Den of Thieves, in which the arbitrageur Michael
Milken is at first defined by a healthy ambition that later in the
story turns to plot-driving greed.
It’s as if his most natural desire to do good had over many years
metastasized, crackling over the phone lines, hiding out in the
backseat of his de rigueur black limousine, via messenger across
the Park, his pulmonary conscience pumping darkly in his
greedy heart . . .
Like a toddler hiding grimly in a closet or a hamper.
Or like the king who fled the palace on the hill that’s now ablaze.
Which explains, I guess, the fighter jets that circle overhead,
The surfeit of broadband, as well as this beautiful bed now bereft of
our lowly ambition.
I’m lying here, there’s no one else, and the flowers that you’ve given
me are wilting in the Slurpee cup.
There is ambient noise.
Noise of jet planes,
Born in California’s Mojave Desert, poet Forrest Gander grew up in Virginia and attended the College of William & Mary, where he majored in geology. After earning an MA in literature from San Francisco State University, Gander moved to Mexico, then to Arkansas, where his poetry—informed by his knowledge of...