On February 1 at Musehouse in Philadelphia Hayden Saunier and I will be reading from our new books. You should go. There will be snacks and wine. And poems too. And books for sale. And people to talk to.
Fox Chase Review did this wonderful interview with Poet Philip Dacey.
Philip Dacey is the author of twelve books of poetry, most recently Gimme Five (2013), the winner of the Blue Light Press Book Award. The recipient of three Pushcart Prizes, two NEA grants, and a Fulbright
lectureship for his poetry, he has written entire collections of poems about Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Eakins, and New York City. His work has appeared in the Hudson Review, Partisan Review, Poetry, Georgia Review, Southern Review, Esquire, Paris Review, The Nation,
and The American Scholar. In 2012 he moved from Manhattan’s Upper
West Side to Minneapolis. To learn more about Philip Dacey please visit http://www.philipdacey.com/bio.html
Interview by: g emil reutter
GER:There has been much debate about the relevance of poetry and poets in recent years. Your career spans decades. Has this been a consistent presence on the poetry scene or a new argument?
PD: I think it’s inevitable that the question is a perennial one since
poetry is conspicuously both a necessary…
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It was on a flight to Las Vegas, hell on earth, that I opened up Richard Carr’s latest book of poems Lucifer. Like Vegas, Lucifer is unique, full of sinister and untrustworthy characters, but completely worth the visit.
Lucifer is a story told in a series 66, mostly short, poems. In the book are four main characters: Lucifer, a parasite (real or metaphorical or both) who clings “like a tick” to the narrator; a sometimes friend Mick the Bastard; and the girlfriend Juliet.
“This is my condition.” the narrator states in the opening poem, and it’s with point-blank language like that that Carr carries the reader through the narrator’s turbulent relationship with his Lucifer and the other people in the book. The narrator is a slacker, a pot-smoking bum who leaches off his girlfriend and takes people for granted. Lucifer is his constant companion, his comforter, his enabler, his co-conspirator, “Lucifer waits for me to wake and feed him. / Half dozing, I give him his due.” That sounds a little like the relationship between a mother and her infant, but no infant has ever had teeth like this.
The relationships in Lucifer frequently shift; alliances and trust are both fluid, yet Lucifer is a constant, though not always dependable companion. Like any addiction or human frailty, Lucifer is there with an answer or an excuse.
“Love rhymes with blood in the language of Hell” says the narrator. Everything that Lucifer touches is tainted, and Carr’s language leads the reader through that hell where “all the TV channels reach the same conclusion” that “Lucifer leads me slowly onward.”
This book is full of loaded lines like those cited above—language that shows the narrator’s internal struggle, his weakness, his failures: “I let everything but hunger slip away.”
Lucifer is an engaging read and one that should first be done in a single sitting (I finished it before the 5-hour flight landed). The momentum of the story requires it.
You can buy Richard Carr’s Lucifer here from Logan House Press.
I wrote this on New Year’s Day 2013, I think. The day before I’d spent a few hours hiking around Peace Valley Lake in Bucks County, so that’s where some of the imagery began.
New Year’s Day
The woods smell like good dogs
in the rain, chestnuts and acorns cracked
and crunching under boots, the kind
of light that comes like notes
in music, rests where it needs,
holding onto bare bushes or
the cracks in fallen trees.
It’s not the rot and rhythm
of woods that’s right,
the lie of snow against water,
a shifted step from stone to stone
and the life he think he lives.
The trail is wide and flat
with rocks he names for dogs
he knew, dark hackles raised to the light.