Friday, February 08, 2008


I was astonished to find Robert Pinsky's First Things to Hand at the new(ish) Borders store a few months back: it was the only chapbook in the entire poetry section (I looked). Sarabande has created a beautiful series with their Quarternote chapbooks, and this collection (which became part of Pinsky's new book, Gulf Music) is an excellent choice for inclusion in the series. I love Pinsky's work. I love his mind, and how he connects to the physicality and history of language, to language as a palpable essence, part of the physical world.

Our wee campus library just acquired a copy of Gulf Music last month; I put a hold on it and they contacted me Wednesday to come pick it up. I've read "Poem of Disconnected Parts" to my students for a couple of semesters since it was first on Poetry Daily--awesome poem--but here's one from the chapbook:



Vulnerable to light,
To the oils of the hand.

The paper sensitive
The dyes ephemeral

The very medium
A trace of absences.

Speed of the years
Speed of the shutter.

The child's father
Crouches level to her

With the camera and so
She crouches too.

Agile the dancer,
Little room

Of the camera, wide
Gaze of exposure—

Shiva the maker
Shiva the destroyer:

The flash of your hammer
Fashions the shelter.

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