In At the Kinnegad Home for the Bewildered, Levine begins his cinematic collection with the lifeblood line of the book in the second poem: “we know there is something more.” As he shifts in and out of the domestic and the divine in his poems, we feel a deep longing for kinship and connect with a speaker who is unabashed in his belief in what isn’t wholly known. Sometimes, we are located within a piece of art, and at other times, we are right in the middle of a myth or standing there, cooking in his kitchen.
All day I watch boats from the living room window. I do other things, of course, but I always come back to the boats—yachts, skiffs, catamarans. Occasionally, there’s even a dinghy, white or blue, with a small figure aboard, paddling madly.
I used to think there could be nothing lonelier than boating, but these days, I have reconsidered.
The night before Elsa left, she and her husband, Landon, discussed the difference between azure and powder blue. Decisions had to be finalized before she left to do archaeological field work in Italy: shaker style or beadboard cabinets, solid surface or subway tile countertop.
So many of my adult friends / have filed complaints against their fathers, / thick dossiers residing inside heavy metal cabinets / marked D for disappointment—
A girl walks into a diner but she wishes it was a bar. A girl walks into a diner for breakfast. A blinking red light in the window says “Eat Good Food.”
This is a tough book to review, because it takes a disparaging tone from the get-go towards the traditional ways people try to identify with narratives and interpret them. After quoting an agent who wrote to Elizabeth Ellen that they couldn’t determine the collection’s stakes, the dust jacket adds, “Saul Stories, in the spirit of films such as Gummo and Trash Humpers, has no obvious stakes.”
Some mornings at my office in Midtown, / post-9/11, shopping bags appeared / on my desk. In them, four-inch Louboutins, / a vintage bomber, Japanese stationary,
David Lehman’s new book, Poems in the Manner Of … is a waltz through the history of poetry and a self-portrait in the fun house mirrors of style. “In the manner of” here means sound-alikes, inspired-bys, collages, fresh translations, and other deep visits with a poet, or a poetic age.
I keep coming back to the night we found out about the twins. Michael and I had been married for ten years at the time. Clare would have just been turning five. Michael had been called in before, but never for anything like this. Our community hadn’t faced this kind of tragedy since that boy had gone missing in ’87, but then, he was never found, and anyway, that was before Michael started diving.
I remember running into a tenement building, / up to the second floor, then looking out a hall window / where my friends were doing the duck walk