At any rate, Joshua Kryah was kind enough to answer a few questions about faith, language, and poetry:
Glean‘s debt to poets such as Paul Celan is evident, but I think I was even more struck by the presence of Hopkins and Hardy (Eliot almost goes without saying). I wonder if you could comment on what you value in the English tradition?
If, by “English tradition,” you mean English poets, I value their attention to language. Especially in the work of of Donne, Hopkins, and Hardy. I share their affinity for language. It’s the same English I use, but one imbued with a deeper sense of history and etymology.
Hopkins, for instance, forces language, under immense pressure, to yield a number of possible routes for a reader to follow—the “naked thew and sinew of the English language” as he calls it. Geoffrey Hill, like Hopkins, constrains the language in such a way as to make it labyrinthine and tangled. Both poets are, as Heraclitus would say, “estranged from that which [they] are most familiar”—God and language, language and God. So their poetry conflates the two, endeavoring through one in order to reach the other. The poems in Glean operate similarly.
As always, read the whole thing!]]>
Why is television afraid of poetry? What’s the matter with them? Poetry fills clubs, halls and venues. Poets and poems can talk to the deepest feelings and to the silliest. It can be like stand-up or rock music. It can be intimate, it can be pubic.
I’m guessing if it’s pubic, it’s probably intimate, too.
(Via the tireless choriamb)]]>
One of the book’s strongest features is its implicit commentary on American masculinity, especially in its adolescent and 20-something variants. Cistulli’s poems are sports-besotted, not with the usual lyrical extolling of, say, the slow time of baseball, or the jazzy flow of basketball, but, rather, with the media- and stats-filtered consciousness of the fan and the player. “Postgame Comments by Celtics’ Captain Paul Pierce as an Approach to the Creative Process” takes as its text an infamous comment by the Boston superstar wherein he compared basketball to war at a time when U.S. troops were fighting overseas. Cistulli splices in “poetry” for “basketball,” with good effect: “people don’t understand / the psychology of the poetry / I was just trying to / get my poetry fired up.” He also writes a series of prose poems for Jiri Welsch, an obscure NBA player, and has other poems that draw their key images from baseball, soccer, video games, and other activities of the 20-something male (the Welsch poem has my current favorite Matthew Arnold allusion: “After that, I read an account of someone’s normal day, except it’s written in Middle English. In it, some rather intelligent armies clash by night: no you are, Matthew Arnold!”). What’s striking about these moments is that they point up the way these activities structure the conversation of young men without being condescending about it. In effect, they treat sports, including fantasy sports and video games, as the natural stuff of poetry, which seems pretty reasonable.
Read the whole thing here.]]>