Some of the recent (2014/15) collections I’ve enjoyed, thought about and quoted in my reading notebook over the past year include Stefanie Lash’s Bird Murder, Leilani Tamu’s The Art of Excavation, Anna Jackson’s I, Clodia, Janis Freegard’s The Glass Rooster, and Mary Cresswell’s Fish Stories.
During the year I also had a couple of lucky finds at a chapbook festival. In 2009, CUNY’s ‘Lost & Found’ Poetics Document Initiative produced The 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference: Robert Creeley’s Contexts of Poetry, with Daphne Marlatt’s Journal Entries. It provides a transcription of Creeley’s talk and Marlatt’s notes from her attendance at the conference – not a write-up, more moments of quotes and responses including phrases, diagrams, references to myth and psychology. The bio note for Marlatt included an extract from a 1979 interview in which she says, ‘I love that phrase, the body of language. And I’m trying to realize its full sensory nature as much as possible,’ going on to note her interest in ‘what it is to live in this world, to be mortal, which I take to be in the body’ – a sentiment I’m interested to find has become an emerging theme in other reading and discussion I’ve chanced on recently.
The second chapbook was Simone Muench’s Trace, published by Black Lawrence Press last year. All of its 26 poems are titled ‘Wolf Cento’, emphasising both their use of a form which incorporates lines and phrases from a variety of sources and the rich, multidimensional figure of the wolf which ranges through them. A very brief sample from the first poem follows – this and several others are included in a PDF on the publisher’s website
Their jaws open – coral
in the darkness. I do not know
who has opened the window.
They sing with their mouths full of earth.