Thursday, April 4, 2013

In Honor of National Poetry Month : Jeffery McDaniel

Those of you who know me know that I spent many years studying poetry in school. Poetry was my first love and it started when I was a little kid. My mother didn't read bedtime stories she read bed time poems from a book of poetry for children. The rhythm, the imagery, the pulse - I was hooked.

One of my favorite contemporary poets is Jeffrey McDaniel. I stumbled upon his work because he spoke to the creative writing class my husband was taking at GA Tech (not a school particularly lauded for their liberal arts). My husband thought Jeffrey was brilliant.

Being an traditionally educated study of great literature and poetry I was skeptical. Would my husband, with his advanced math and software engineering background, know brilliant poetry?

Yes. Yes he did.

McDaniel’s work if littered with powerful one-liner observations that leave me breathless.

Here is one of my favorite poems:

Letter To The Woman Who Stopped Writing Me Back – Jeffery McDaniel

I wanted you to be the first to know - Harper & Row
has agreed to publish my collected letters to you.

The tentative title is Exorcist in the Gym of Futility.

Unfortunately I never mailed the best one,
which certainly was one of a kind.

A mutual friend told me that when I quit drinking,

I surrendered my identity in your eyes.

Now I'm just like everybody else, and it's so funny,

the way monogamy is funny, the way
someone falling down in the street is funny.

I entered a revolving door and emerged
as a human being. When you think of me
is my face electronically blurred?

I remember your collarbone, forming the tiniest
satellite dish in the universe, your smile
as the place where parallel lines inevitably crossed.

Now dinosaurs freeze to death on your shoulder.

I remember your eyes: fifty attack dogs on a single leash,
how I once held the soft audience of your hand.

I've been ignored by prettier women than you,
but none who carried the heavy pitchers of silence
so far, without spilling a drop.


I don’t think it gets any better than this line: “I've been ignored by prettier women than you, but none who carried the heavy pitchers of silence so far, without spilling a drop.“

That line is biting-mean and oozing venom. I love love love it.

Learn more about him here. You can buy his books from Manic D press (You totally should – I have them all and they are fan-freaking-tastic).

Do you adore contemporary poets? Share! Tell us who rings your bell:

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