Reading’s A Thing I Sometimes Do.

December 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

& here’s a picture of a book I liked recently:

Poemland by Chelsea Minnis.  Published by Wave Books, 2009.  (Is it just me/Houston, or are they, like, So Totally In right now?)

The poems, all untitled & separated into chunks by all-black section markers with barcodes on them, are composed of single lines that end with variously sized ellipses & ellipises-like punctuation.  Minnis talks a lot about being unsure of herself, which is a way to make me like a person instantly.  The book is also super self-conscious of/about its own making— “With this book I have made a very expensive joke…”—but not in a way that makes me feel all yucky inside.  Instead, I felt like the whole poem-making process, which is difficult & can fuck with people, was fucking equally with Minnis & with me.  & that seems honest enough.

Also, I liked that I kept giggling to myself as I was reading it, thinking she was sometimes offering contemporary translations of canonical poems, & then seeing inside that thought my own half-mast intuitive way of sense-making (which is to say, bullshit); she’s probably just tackling the Same Old Subjects as those guys, since they took so many of the good ones (“What can I but enumerate old themes?” etc.).  Still.  It’s fun to pretend.

Chelsea Minnis Covers John Keats’s “When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be”:

UNTITLED (page 39)

The swinishness of others is legendary…

But I must live under the swinishness of my own self…

There is swinishness in the future…

But I don’t know about it yet.

Death will come to end swinishness…

But my swinishness will continue in my poems…!


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