The New Young American Poets: An Anthology

By Kevin Prufer | Go to book overview

Rick Barot

Riffing

The pit of some fruit might be what I'm about
to bite on, speech lapsing to bitterness
that way. Or it might be that a cloud
is paring away from the sun, the sun striking
meaning on something that has to shine.
From a limited meter, Frost says, endless
possibilities for tune. And so I love how
do re mi becomes another nature in my book.
How Tom, Dick, and Harry are all the same
but what I sing about them is different.
Tom's little finger, let's say, or Dick's ear,
or that spare meadow of hair at the small
of Harry's back. I know someone who thinks desire
merely taffies the mind's one want, which is
to be free of want. But I don't live in a bamboo,
grove, can't stare at the philosophical cranes
for more than a while. Clean paper only makes me
think of Tom's name repeating itself there.
And the privacy of each face in the subway crowd
suggests that any story do might offer
is so distant from what mi has to say
that there's no hope for the philosophical.
Someone might be speaking to someone in the dark,
a cigarette the only light between them.
Someone might be crying over a map.
Someone has just about polished a pair of shoes
to his satisfaction. I don't know how dreams
mean, but it's that shoe which often pulls
through to morning, the creases on its snout
like laugh-lines on a face. I think about it
while watching Harry's face waking to its lines,
its breath and words. Its coffee and shower
and work. I remember my mother planting roses
as one way the mundane gets brought into

-10-

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The New Young American Poets: An Anthology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • A Foreword Looking Backwards xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Sherman Alekie 1
  • Talvikki Ansel 4
  • Rick Barot 10
  • Paul Beatty 15
  • Erin Belieu 21
  • Rafael Campo 27
  • Nick Cabó 32
  • Joshua Clover 38
  • Nicole Cooley 41
  • Denise Duhamel 46
  • Thomas Savers Ellis 52
  • Suzanne Gardinier 60
  • James Harms 66
  • Allison Joseph 72
  • Julia Kasdorf 78
  • Joy Katz 83
  • Timothy Liu 88
  • Khaled Mattawa 93
  • Jeffrey Mcdaniel 99
  • Campbell Mcgrath 105
  • Heidilynn Nilsson 112
  • Rick Noguchi 117
  • Barbara J. Orton 124
  • Alan Michael Parker 129
  • D. A. Powell 137
  • Claudia Rankine 143
  • Matthew Rohrer 146
  • Ruth L. Schwartz 149
  • Angela Shaw 154
  • Reginald Shepherd 160
  • Larissa Szporluk 164
  • Ann Townsend 168
  • Natasha Trethewey 173
  • Karen Volkman 177
  • Rachel Wetzsteon 182
  • Greg Williamson 188
  • Max Winter 194
  • Sam Witt 198
  • Mark Wunderlich 204
  • Kevin Young 209
  • Acknowledgments 217
  • Contributors 223
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