I love to be outside as night falls. Whenever I can, I mark the transition from day to night by walking through quickly darkening streets and peeping into the neighboring houses. My neighbors and I may have nothing in common beyond the fact that the light of day is fading for us all, but when I pass by their uncurtained windows I leave traces; a wake of moving air, the sound of a footstep, or the impression of a familiar face to someone invisible to me. There is an intimacy to this repeated, glancing attention. As I stalk the last licks of light, I am sutured into the lives lived behind the windows I pass.
Mark Young is a poet drawn to prodigious production as much as he is to the idiosyncrasies of living creatures. Songs to Come for the Salamander: Poems 2013–2021 represents a near-decade’s worth of poems, picking up roughly from where Pelican Dreaming: Poems 1959–2008 left off.
Will Montgomery’s succinct study Short Form American Poetry: The Modernist Tradition is one of those texts that, in a quiet way, shake up a whole topic. Among its main gifts are repeated reminders — subliminal rather than overt — of just what an unlikely and unprecedented development the “short-form” poem really was and how odd it is that it should have become a particularly American phenomenon.
Steven Seidenberg’s Anon is a textual mountebank — a term that Seidenberg defines in the collection’s lavish glossary as “a person hawker of quack medicines in public places, attracting an audience by tricks, storytelling, and jokes.” It’s not common for poetry collections to have their own glossaries — and even less common for them to feature words that don’t appear anywhere in the text.
Dead Winter (along with Matvei Yankelevich’s chapbook From A Winter Notebook) has been culled from a long project whose intention Yankelevich writes, is “to reassemble winter’s / memory.” This description is both tantalizing and ambiguous.