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Thursday, May 21, 2009

John Gallaher @ Poetry Daily & another poem from his new book

John Gallaher is up at Poetry Daily today. Instead of just linking to the poem, I've decided to paste it in its entirety into this post just so that you don't need to put up any more effort of tracking his work down. You need to read John's work. And tracking his work down shouldn't be all that hard now anyway since John's really exploding onto the scene over the last few years.

He has an earlier first book, Gentlemen in Turbans, Ladies in Cauls, which I haven't read, but his Larry Levis Prize winning collection called The Little Book of Guesses was one of my favorite poetry collections of 2007. I recommend it to you. Here's a link to a poem called "The Danger in Plans" from The Little Book of Guesses.

You can also find links to John's work at Verse Daily where they've complied a list of all his poems previously published at Verse Daily and a handful of poems from around the web.

John also runs a blog called "Nothing to Say & Saying It," and I encourage everyone to check out John's recent post regarding an interview poet David Wojahn did with Gulf Coast. (Here's a link to the Gulf Coast interview.) I'll save my own commentary on the interview and John's post, but you should note that this post had close to 70 comments when last I checked: a huge amount for poetry blogs. So, certainly worth a read.

Also, probably two of the best book covers I've seen in recent years. Be sure to click the pictures so you can see them in full size.

Alright. Here's the poem from Poetry Daily and another one, kind of the title poem, from the new book.

You Can't Say No to the Weather

The pleasures of the restaurant. All these floating narratives
we can walk in and out of. Later,
maybe a county fair. And later, the Devil
may care. And the Tilt-A-Whirl. The calliope house.

We liked it but we couldn't say why,
which made us a bit afraid, but also a bit titillated,
as now we had a secret life,
one filled with unexplainable things. The trick
is to make it seem like it really doesn't matter,
like it's merely happening this way.

I'll take some of that lemonade
with six real lemons, then. And I'll have ten dollars
in tickets, please. Easy as pie.

We've said it too many times
and now it's the only thing there is. But isn't that fine too,
in its way? The curve of things
up and around you, the mad rush of air?

They're saying something back behind the courthouse
that might be interesting. Something
about the voices. The way they're waving their arms
and chewing the scenery. In the photographs,
they might be mistaken for statues.

In that way, though, I suppose we all could,
not in the reductive "what it means" way,
but more in the generalized tone of how the world works,
the way the fairground lights fall across our faces
as we're looking up to the little people in the sky
growing ever more luminous and distant.

The Map of the Folded World

We’re at a great distance.
Little specks of things.

We have this hunger.

So let us contemplate the hand. The distance
of the hand.
The grasping of the distance.
The hollow of the eye.

Let us say we are walking into a building
we’ll not walk out of.

We know we’re all here
somewhere. The table is set.
There are plants along the window.

Out of curiosity. Out of the body

We consist of smaller things.
“The curtains kept swaying.”

We’ll tell each other about it.
We’ll accuse each other of not caring enough
about what we care about.

As we’re all folding
from our houses. Folding into the yards.

Our flaming streets. Our streets
in flame.

John Gallaher
Map of the Folded World

Support a poet! Click here to purchase John Gallaher's Map of the Folded World published by University of Akron Press. And click here to purchase The Little Book of Guesses, winner of the Larry Levis Prize and published by Four Way Books.

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