Rae Armantrout has emerged in recent years as an essential contributor to a new and evolving American poetry, the force of the work in fulfillment of Lydia Davis’s earlier assessment: “In every line, every stanza of these brief and dense poems, Rae Armantrout’s powerful mix of scientific inquiry and social commentary, wit and strangeness, is profoundly stimulating. She changes the way one sees the world and hears language — every poem an explosion on the page in which her individuality shines through. Is the work funny? Absolutely. Moving? Yes. But beware — after reading Armantrout you will question everything, including what it means to be ‘funny’ and ‘moving.’” Previous postings on Poems & Poetics can be found here and here, as well as Marjorie Perloff’s essay “An Afterword for Rae Armantrout.” Here are four of her new poems.
The earth is currently operating in a no-analog state. In the center of the grid is a glass water pitcher. The pink lightning was branched — I think I mean forked. Instead of these, I was given an insect, a peculiar prehistoric creature, part lobster, part spider, part bell-ringer, part son of a fallen star, something like an armored dog.
the cuckoo is a pretty bird, she warbles as she flies The cuckoo is a - BANG -