May 10, 2012

Reading at Open Books this Saturday: Melissa Dickey and Zach Savich

I'm unfamiliar with Dickey's poetry, but I've seen Savich's excellent work in various journals, including his commentaries and criticism for The Kenyon Review and the Poetry Society of America.

The reading's this Saturday, May 12, at 7:30.

From the Open Books website:

Tonight we welcome two intriguing poets who are also graduates of the University of Washington and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, co-editors of Thermos literary magazine,  — and friends. This promises to be a warm, invigorating evening. Melissa Dickey, who lives and teaches in her hometown of New Orleans, is the author of The Lily Will ($14 Rescue Press), an attractive-in-all-ways volume. The spare, thrumming lyrics it contains seem a kind of contemporary pastoral, the rural and the urban each a place for their singular, quiet meditations to unfold. It is a book honed and lilting, nimbly revealing landscapes both vast and room-size, as well as the people who inhabit them (the poet included).


The only way to be engaged
is to be optimistic.

Oranges, someone let fall oranges,
ripe, it’s their season.
They lay bright in dust
and shell gravel, the center
of a still life dropped,
rolled off a truck.

Imagining you as I step,
you as seasonal fruit, cherries
rotting around trees.
Wild blackberries, a sheet of melon.

I align myself over and over accordingly.

Zach Savich, who teaches at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, is the author of a book of creative non-fiction, a chapbook, and three poetry collections, most recently The Firestorm ($15.95), which was the winner of the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Open Book Competition. It is a volume at once dislocating and rich with specificity, its unusual details accumulating like wind-swept drifts of snow or ash. Desire and transformation stain the poems, making them at once intimate and distant. They are filled with a searching mind and a music both fragmented and graceful.

from "The Man who Lost his Head"

Fields in a cloud-caught light. Streets
salt white near sun-eroded brick.
The light’s hanging perforations like

phone slips on a pole’s poster
for something lost. There are no narratives,
economics, or theology, only the geologic

triad: heat, pressure, time.
Dear. Have seen the need to go
to extremes so they won’t come

for you. Snow no longer melting
but melted to its presences, re-adhering
outside the frozen swamp by billboards blank

or hand-painted or billboards dark.
Rising fog. Hand-painted ice.
Insist: there is nothing that is not green.

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