National Poetry Month, Continued!

Thursday, April 15, 2010, at 7:00 pm, poets Adrian Blevins and James Haug will continue our National Poetry Month celebration with a reading from their books as well as new poems. ($2-5 sliding scale.)

*Please note our new starting time.

Adrian Blevins

Adrian Blevins’s The Brass Girl Brouhaha (Ausable Press, 2003) won the 2004 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Blevins is also the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Foundation Award, a Bright Hill Press Chapbook Award for The Man Who Went Out for Cigarettes, and the Lamar York Prize for Nonfiction. A new book, Live from the Homesick Jamboree, was released from Wesleyan University Press in the fall. Blevins teaches at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

James Haug

James Haug’s Legend of the Recent Past was published last year by the National Poetry Review Press. His previous collections are Walking Liberty (Winner of the Morse Poetry Prize, Northeastern University Press) and The Stolen Car (University of Massachusetts Press). His chapbooks include Fox Luck, which won the Center for Book Arts chapbook competition, and A Plan of How to Catch Amanda, published by Factory Hollow Press. In Fall 2010, Tarpaulin Sky Press will publish his latest chapbook, Scratch.

Haug’s poems have appeared in such journals as American Letters & Commentary, American Poetry Review, Bateau, Conduit, Crazyhorse, Field, Gettysburg Review, notnostrums, Open City, and Ploughshares. He’s received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. He is a Visiting Lecturer in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and serves as an editor for UMass Press’ Juniper Poetry Prize. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

*

ODE TO THE FISH FRY by Adrian Blevins

I remember how the days seemed never to end, how tacky they got
…………at the rim, the sultry residue on the wild roses Mama and everyone

not only didn’t wipe off but somehow cultivated with somehow the very breath
…………back at the farm when I was a child when everyone left town

to go to what was called anyway “the farm” to sit on porches and be intellectual hillbillies
…………in peace I guess and drink wine I guess and smoke a little pot maybe

……………………………….and play bridge and talk mutiny and riot and insubordination and defiance

and though I’ve spent my whole life missing the childhood I missed
………….while bitching about the fucked-up ways in which the fucked-up bohemians

screwed me over essentially with their atheism and aestheticism
………….and tribalism and alcoholism and snooty romanticized Southernism,

somebody needs to write an ode never-the-fuck-the-less
………….to the body heat of everyone at the fire pit

………………………………and the hundreds of little fish in a huge bucket in cornmeal or flour or
……………………………………something

because there really must be an ode to the body heat of everyone at the pond
…………where in the not-quite-dark the fish were caught and reeled in

and thrown up on the bank to be skewered and thrown back into the water
…………to be allowed to breathe for a little bit longer on a string

because that froth or foam or whatever that was covering the rhododendron
…………and the goldenrod and the rye and all the plants in fact

.……………………………...covered the mothers and the fathers and the bothers and the sisters

as well as that old fort we climbed around in and the huge birch tree
…………and the outhouse lilies and the hand pump and the water that trickled from it

as this was before any of us went away and died and died in a thousand ways
…………and thus it is imperative that some kind of song be sung

about the time before the dread when we liked to stand in a circle
…………in the dark around a fire and not know anything and not say anything

………………………………
but just be there together to just together heed it.

(Used by permission of Wesleyan University Press. All rights reserved.)

*

MUCH LATER by James Haug

And I went along, living on
crackers and pop, up and
down God’s burnt-out road.
The jokes we told kept
getting lost in the wind.
In the distance I spied
a farmer’s wife chasing white
bed sheets in a hayfield.
I was a hat she’d never
catch. Clouds like aprons
full of rock salt visited us.
A rusted Cat’s Paw sign
hinged on groaning iron.
Hector was trying to tell me
something, something urgent
in the way he aimed his chin.
I couldn’t get it. He was lost
like a radio wave. Smiley
nodded tragically toward
where the wind was going,
taking everything with it,
a pre-worn shirt snapping
around his scarecrow shoulders.

(Used by permission of National Poetry Review Press. All rights reserved.)

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