from Percival Everett in “The Art of Fiction No. 235”

Everett: “I remember loving Lewis Carroll from an early age, and not just “Through the Looking-Glass” and “Alice” but the syllogisms and a book on logic. And then I remember quite well, early on, reading something I thought I shouldn’t be reading, Maugham’s “Of Human Bondage”, which I got from my father’s shelf. I think I was nine. It was fun because I didn’t think I was supposed to read it. As I look back, I think that it’s reading, probably even more than writing, that I find important. Reading is subversive because you necessarily do it by yourself. Which is why books scare people like Donald Trump. What’s interesting to me is that the poor people who identify with Donald Trump, they think of themselves as unlucky rich people. If things had just gone differently, they would be rich, too. The system has worked against them. It’s the same reason people play the lottery. Overnight you could wake up rich, and that’s an exciting thing. What you can’t do overnight is become educated. That requires a lot of work, so that’s not a goal. It’s something to fear. But that’s exactly why I find books so important. I don’t care what people read. If they read anything, then they might read something else. I just want to participate in making a different culture. I’m thinking of that line of Walt Whitman’s—”Produce great Persons, the rest follows.” It sounds flip when you just say it, but it’s true. That’s not to say that people are bad, but I want a readership that wants to read things because the work is difficult, not because it’s only fun. I want the fun to be in figuring it out. That’s what reading is all about, and to me writing is really just an extension of reading. But there, enough of my soapbox.”

Read the entire interview in The Paris Review.

John Berryman

Wikipedia Poem, No. 505

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“The greens of the Ganges delta foliate.” Berryman

One should promote purchasable things
not people. One inspects the grey pain
interior. It is said that in a rabbi one discovers
the universe’s first wikipedia entry. “My skin itches
my skin’s cannibalizing brine,” Henry said. Feel any
one discipline is not an obscure witch. I merely
because you came on so strong. Emily don’t, said the
raggedy rabbi. The man drives his talon
into warmth. Warmth for the jain is
chubby. Just chubby. For the film to succeed
it must inhabit its fastidious corner. I am the hard one
must explain. Its unnamed elsewhere. No one denies
the yes of youth. Animal meat wrestles the delta
foliate. Talon languor in either statutes or statue
guarantees change. Powerwash. The pretty work of a dandy.

Hypovolemic Fantasy, Eros, Alone

Wikipedia Poem, No. 502

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“Evening of a day in early March, / you are like the smell of drains / in a restaurant where pate maison / is a slab of cold meat loaf / damp and wooly. You lack charm.” James Schuyler

   verbing hot 
        and heavy
like a 
lover's 
    wet mouth
after dark
       n u 
  my mirror body itself
comes 
   separated 
        skin from skin from skin from 
   skin 
torn from skin 
like peeling paint 
 from skin from 
skin from skin from skin 
from skin from skin from skin from skin from skin from skin from skin 
from skin ripped from a 
turtle's 
          shell 
         
  yr mirror 
body 
itself
comes 
paint 
       from a turtle 
   shell 
   the 
shell fear 
is blood hard
is that 
 i peeling separates
      skin from skin from his liquid from 
from skin from a turtle's shell 
the 
mirror yr mouth
after 
dark
n u fear 
the blood is 
blood coming  
  comes hot 
and 
heavy has come
like peeling paint 
from a 
turtle's 
shell 
 
    the illness 
like paint-like   
    skin from a 
        turtle's shell 
        the 
shell 
        peels
separating
     skin 
from 
skin from a turtle's shell

Going to Minsk

Wikipedia Poem, No. 481

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dough stuck to       eat (or      stop   cannibalizing it
never ends all the dumplings will never end
all like a black rabbit head such improbable
writing         plastic trimming never ending all       like a rebus poem
the throat himself       (or     a stand-in    for the       paris
review facebook page someone somewhere must care
about a man who         smartly uses his petunia 
now he's unrecognizable          symmetry slides   down 
the dumplings will never end all the dumplings will never end
all     the dumplings he will never provide   myself to myself
(or stand for the grey pixels and       black     rabbit heads 
such        improbable      writing          a rebus poem 
then a laudable commander in the grey pixels 
and mouthed tooth    desire as idols to eat      
(or     stop   cannibalizing inside 
where it      never ends   i didn't know he had 
an earring    all the buying          fried dough stuck 
to an      unnamed company doing companion-dance
myself    (or myself    standing up to dumplings that will    never end
all like a rebus     poem    the grey mouth  pixels    will
unnamed commander the kids are tom 
veitch's         poison   meat to august kleinzaler's    poison 
meat       to august kleinzaler's poison meat 
august stands     for the kids sausage-master 
on the grey pixels and     the black rabbit head     
dwindling improbable writing starved dumplings
will never end      all      like a hidden end
all the throat (or a hidden-in grey commanding throat

Pronoun Disaster (Saints That Maketh Their Grave)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 476

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“Bless the fever in that night / in the sixth month of my life. / Bless the fever, for it gave me sight; / it swole my brain to fit God’s gift.” Tyehimba Jess

he she                

his   saints
                  maketh are
the grave that maketh       are their themself

you he she    
his letter saints her letter saints
    and to them
they themself 

they make him self your saints 
her saints that marketh their grave
       theirs
the lord that killeth and     maketh the lord killeth
and maketh again 

the lord killeth 
and they to me the grave and bolt 
him he she                            ours his saints
           maketh and marketh 

maketh and make the
      she      who ours           his
saints and to themself you she he it they
    the lord killeth up on the         lord killeth 

maketh up she
                  he they their we us our saints 
and among them

‘Lightning Bugs’ by August Kleinzahler

IMG_7487

A cruel word at eventide
and night zips up
like a spider's retreat.

Go back to your febrile
needlework.
                  We shall not
be chasing lightning bugs
in the tall grass tonight.

Put the whiskey on the shelf
and let us speak calmly
of money.

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Source: Kleinzahler, August. Live from the Hong Kong Nile Club: Poems : 1975-1990. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003. Print. Page 34.

Mary Ruefle

Wikipedia Poem, No. 437

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“We are human beings. Our expressions are always inadequate, often pitiful.” Ruefle

best case
clitics
a doctor in exile
for his weird name

notes that his patient notes
inflect
particle daughters   (i’m

with flesh the victims
repress
popular 45s
or cheap vector images

pressed in the factories of the sun
mary ruefle’s munificent markers
derive healing clitics

if the litter
loves god
and by coincidence
is intellectually repressed

let her grind
those students
into dog food

Muriel Rukeyser

Wikipedia Poem, No. 431

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“In the day I would be reminded of those men and women, / Brave, setting up signals across vast distances, / Considering a nameless way of living, of almost unimagined values.” Muriel Rukeyser

      remain 
  consistent a 
      commitment to an 
apt 
   description 
  of her feminist 
activities garnered her 
our twentieth-century 
       coleridge our neruda
        organized protests against 
the whole of her remarkable femininity
a woman
a jew
       a 
jew a jew a jew
         a jew
a 
single multitude
the trial of american poetry  
     an apt description 
        american poetry in her 
        121-page fbi file and 
         an innovative body of american poems 
out of work across the trail
of cultural norms and taboos 
       this consistent
commitment 
to deeply human activities 
violated by various vietnams

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Sources: