H_NGM_N Books, 2016
review by William James
By page 34 of Matt Hart’s latest book-length single poem Radiant Action, we’ve already been steeped in the idea of noise. It’s a frantic, crashing cacophony of “hardcore vocalists, birds with jet engines, sandbag pilgrims,” a favorite punk rock band playing loud in the basement, the author “wak[ing] up screaming [his] whole throat to red.” Noise is a common thread in this poem, so when we get to the line “Poetry is language made noisy with god” it’s a moment like standing in a field under a storm-dark sky, seeing the clouds break open, and feeling the sudden brightness of the sun piercing the gray.
We love staring at these junkfood landscapes.
We love these poems by Lydia Hounat.
We love this interview with Bernadette Mayer.
We love this piece of writing by Andrew Durbin.
We love this list of recommended poetry.
We love these poems by Anne Gorrick.
We love this poem by Joe Milazzo.
We love this poem by Ben Pease.
We love this poem by Chris Campanioni.
We love this poem by Ellen Bass.
We love you!
I didn’t talk about dreams last week because I thought it better to contemplate a different kind of dream. Between then and now I’ve had a lot of dreams. It feels like I’ve been compelled to talk about my own dream life. So I will.
My dreams are wild and boring. By this I mean it’s easy to make sense of them. This is the problem with sense. It’s an easy thing to lean on. Like language.
How many times have you said the word love because there isn’t another word?
The first time I ever had a poem published my mother called my wife crying because she thought the poem was about her, and that the poem was my reckoning with some horrible thing I thought she had done. This made sense to her, but absolutely none to me.
I had a dream that whatever I thought appeared on my body in tattoo form, in cursive writing. It was anything I thought and would stay there for a couple hours. At first it was thoughts/doubts I was having and I was very nervous, but then I learned how to write poetry in my mind and have it appear on my body and I become very proud of this skill.
I. the colonel / death
after Derek Archambault
it takes a lot for holy men to give up
so i killed god (took ten thousand dead
men to pull the trigger)
the holster fit / the barrel echoed with smoke
i looked a gunnéd man in his dimming eyes
& told him he’s just going to sleep //
i know what it is to be god
& i didn’t rest after //
i still wake in the night,
remember the river dirt beneath
my fingernails // the blood, same as mine,
II. the fool / the fool
a vulture kettles alone behind a trash can
& debris of Before //
a reverend & a sinner stand at one o’clock.
holy man holds a bag / looks like snow //
the vulture is just pecking around
behind the trash can /// still
there is time for our vices /// of course
a man would think himself god / what kind
of reverend carries around bags of snow / & how
on earth does he keep them cold?
“The Bones of Us” is part poetry collection, part graphic novel, and all well done.
J Bradley and Adam Scott Mazer have given us something we can appreciate from a few different angles. The poetry is moving and relatable…
“We will kiss like passengers
without floatation devices,
Hang on to the side of the bed
like a loose plank.”
…even if it is a bit muddled at times by the bombardment of images not brought forth by the words, but instead laid out for you in an interesting comic style (that adds to the depth of the words more often than hides them). The art is at once disturbing and revealing in a way that helps us see into the mind of the narrator without giving away the fun of reading poetry, while still being powerful and poetic images all on their own. The look of the book is dark, which suits the poems as well as the suit fits the skeleton on the front cover. Continue reading
photo courtesy of Face The Show (facetheshow.com)
Author’s note: all of these poems were written using a process I’ve come to refer to as ‘deconstruction’ – basically, I take the lyrics to albums by bands who have been influential on me as an artist, copy & paste them in alphabetical order on sheets of paper, and then proceed to write ‘magnetic poetry’ style using only the words that are on the pages spread out in front of me. In each of these poems, every word that was used appears somewhere in the lyrics to the respective album it is inspired by/taken from.
all words in this poem taken from "Songs To Scream At The Sun" by Have Heart
Ask me where I'm from & I'll say I live
in a cold city that reminds anyone of anything
but home. It's overcrowded & full of guilt.
I forget how to breathe. I never dance,
because my heart dwells too long
on insecurities. Sometimes the mail brings me
loveless magazines that leave the blues
in my stomach, because I am afraid
to be alone. Some nights, I dream that I am
a song-bird lost in a shoreless ocean
or a sea of blood. I think of my father
in his garden – he calls it Paradise,
will say it's greener than all of Eden. On TV,
there's a man begging to be dragged through
the fire. His hypocrisy is beautiful in the way
it's just like my own. I am still
my mother's only son. The rambling
prodigal with golden wings. She will
always keep photos of me on the windowsill.
I will always break every mirror. I will always
long to be swallowed by the water.
In May of 2003 I was attending a music festival in the Adirondack Mountains, smoking a joint with friends beside our tents at the edge of the grounds, when a shadowy figure emerged from the forest. Being in full dude mode, I invited the approaching man to partake. Within minutes I was detailing my history of exotic drug use for our new friend, after which he removed several bags of leaf and powder from his jacket and asked “So you know about these?”
When I asked the man how he came to know about Salvia, 5-MeO-Dmt, and 2C-B, he replied “I’m a shaman.”