One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Friday, July 22, 2011

Coffee Spoons, Coffeehouse Friends, & Rae Armantrout

Given: 1 life; measure in whatever units you like: coffee spoons (T. S. Eliot), full moons (Paul Bowles), morning walks to Peets (R L Swihart).


Coffeehouse friends are a different brew: commerce can be as lean as greetings, first names, the names of authors and books. From one such friend I received an unexpected (though long expected) gift this morning: Rae Armantrout's Versed (Signed: For Rex, From Rae Armantrout, 3-12-2011).

Other than a few glimpses I know next to nothing of Armantrout's poetry (see links below to Breytenbach's quote on "leaving a few marks"; to the reader reviews on Versed at Amazon), but eventually I'll try to post a fave poem(s) from this collection.

An initial reaction to the cover art: Sci-Fi (some robotic sculpture with a view onto an apocalyptic landscape, or the mountains around San Diego).

One of the four backcover blurbs:
"Armantrout's poetry has always been turned to the present moment. Its formal lineage is from William Carlos Williams and the Objectivists, with their enjambments of modern experience.... Poetically, Armantrout has always aimed at knowing life by isolating it from narrative. Written under a diagnosis of cancer ('I just called / to fill you in'), Versed is a major and moving addition to a life's work in many-angled reflections."
--Jeremy Noel-Tod, Times Literary Supplement 


On Breytenbach's "leaving a few marks":

An array of reader reviews of Versed at Amazon:

coffee spoons Pictures, Images and Photos

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