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January 1, 2023 / barton smock

( work of others 2022

I said too little this year about the work of others...words either left or came back with less...but...I did say a few things and meant them.

Eye, Apocalypse / poems, Erik Fuhrer / Spuyten Duyvil 2021


These last few years have had, for me, many endings. I have lost beginnings to both second and third comings. Verse has been something I can’t see, unless placed in front of me. And of late I feel I may have overstayed, with others, our finale. But whatever witness may have passed, I have been blessed with the chance to sightsee within the without of Erik Fuhrer’s Eye, Apocalypse. I don’t know how much time any apocalypse has left, but am glad for the brave worrying that Fuhrer does over each. The missing, the coded, the unbidden. The apocalypse that can’t be in two places at once. The apocalypse with too long of a name. Prophecy itself is an erasure, and Fuhrer is a poet whose lyric narrates the longings of the foreseen and embeds repetition in a singular song of ecclesiastic mutations both soundlessly dense and locally clear. Through the affair, the adoration, the becoming, and the memorial, this work finds nest eggs in the lowercase book of revelation, allows distance to be terrified of its next self, and words the world into something said.


a child walks in the dark / poems, Darren C. Demaree / Small Harbor, 2021


Holy with intention, Darren C. Demaree’s a child walks in the dark is a non-performative piece of displayed belief and an unbroken speaking of the telling world. Poems here are remnant doings, and each month is a faith. Demaree tells a son, tells a daughter, tells them both, and in the saying, another thing is built inside the thing built to fall. Memory has to start somewhere, myth is a myth, and the children are long. The verse here is gentle, protected by wonder and worry and wager, but it is not safe. In one breath, there is blueprint, and in that same breath, there is something unsold from the museum of cold weather that must be described correctly in order to be seen by both the young and by the architect of their forgetting.


Johannes Göransson
Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2022


I think it might be too early for me to be putting words toward Johannes Göransson's Summer as I've only  just finished its fourth and final section called The World and the fire as a whole is still trying to figure out which parts it still needs to set. But, I also worry some season will end, and I'll be in it and have to lie about how I moved forward. Göransson writes the under out from under. Beauty, death, the after. The after-art of living as something uncreated. If a ceiling fan falls on a trapdoor...ah, I have no then. I paint my kidnapper to look like my kidnapper, lose blue like a hand, let children make me sad, think maybe invention has always known where it's imagined itself from, and am poor but less poor for work like Summer and the care it takes of the false elsewhere.


Blue, Erin Wilson, Circling Rivers, 2022

Erin Wilson’s Blue is a work of radical worry that brushes over the invisible fossil of location with a verse that paints sons and mothers into corners so sharply that it separates survival and existence long enough that losses grieve differently over the same portion of brevity. I loved this book. For the vague science of its radiance, for its reverse resurrections, for the timestamps its poetry puts on the disorientation of the parent and the parented, for its carrying of a sorrow that remains unpaid by sadness, and, most of all, for trying to keep with color a nothingness from going bad. 



As said before, if you read everything from bones to palms, or read nothing between two hells, or need the whole to place you in parts, you owe it to yourself to read this dense and gutting first work by Lou Poster, who writes backward and sets a trap for touch. 

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