Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Opening the World" on Peony Moon

If you're interested in contemporary poetry at all, one of your regular pull-offs on the information highway should be Michelle McGrane's Peony Moon: she features new poetry books and chapbooks, with -- this is the rare part -- a couple pages of poems, enough to really get your teeth into and decide if you want to read more of this poet. Following Peony Moon is a poetic education.

So I was delighted and grateful this morning to see my book featured there, along with two of my favorite poems. One of the the faintly louche pleasures of publishing a book of poems, I find, is discovering which of the poems different people gravitate toward.

I was surprised and pleased by both choices. "Calculus" was written to a prompt from one of the now-extinct prompt sites, I'm afraid I no longer remember which one, to write about mathematics. I think this was supposed to be a really hard prompt, with the idea that if you could write a poem about math you could write a poem about anything. To me, of course, it was cake. I have an intensely emotional and "poetic" response to mathematics: for me poetry and math inhabit the precisely the same ecstatic, extravagant spiritual world of perfect forms and impossibilities. I dashed off "Calculus" as fast as I could type. I didn't expect anyone to like it, though. (If there's one thing blogging has taught me, it's to have confidence in my audience, and trust them to follow me. I couldn't count the number of things I've posted things, expecting dead silence, only to receive warm, unexpected responses, often from the unlikeliest people.)

"Border Country" was another poem whose response surprised me. It's full (I thought) of private imagery and of imagery from Tibetan Buddhism. I thought it was a bit of self-indulgence, a piece of private poetry. But it resonated immediately with the part of my audience I think of as "the poetry people," and I've never been sure why. Maybe they have more of a taste for being teased, that way, than most people.

Here's the link. Thank you, Michelle!


Michelle said...

It's a privilege to feature Opening the World on Peony Moon, Dale. Congratulations on a beautiful collection.

I've enjoyed reading a little background to 'Calculus' and 'Border Country'. I love them both.

Dale said...

Thanks so much, Michelle!

rbarenblat said...

Oh, I can't wait for my copy to arrive!

I very much like both of the poems Michelle chose to feature, too. The second one does feel to me like it must be rich in Buddhist resonances I'm not catching, but I can relate to it anyway.

marly youmans said...

Hey, confetti!

What a nice feature on your work--sure to draw readers.

Dale said...

Thanks Rachel & Marly!