New crushes

As I try to hold on to beginner’s mind, I recall the practice of falling in love at a moment’s notice with writers who are new to me, and for no other reason than that I followed my nose to their door. Perhaps it is the time of year (mists, sharpened pencils, etc), perhaps I am actively putting myself in the frame of mind of searching for something fresh, but I always associate September with such love affairs.

Back in my social media days this was quite easy. To misquote Hemingway, all you had to do was open up Twitter, and bang, you could find the work of the (latest) favourite poet of your favourite poet at breakfast and have moved in with them by tea time. Things have not been so straightforward in the lurve dept since those heady times.

I trust about six people on planet poetry (you know who you are), but not all of them exactly text me every day with news of Who They Are Reading. (No matter, it makes it all the more exciting when they do.) Which means, after a fallow period such as this year’s, I have needed to get resourceful.

Two poets I have discovered recently are Han VanderHart and Scott Weaver, both from the US. How I found them is my business, but here are some wonderful things that they have put into the world. The House and You: Intimate Spaces, Objects and Memory is a profound and moving writing and drawing exercise by Hannah VanderHart. If you have an hour and a half to spare, make an artist’s date with yourself and lose yourself in their exquisitely scaffolded prompts.

The first poem of Scott Weaver’s that I came across was Detour Ghazal:

Maybe it’s a Tuesday and the client they needed to keep the firm afloat passed,

or there’s a war in a desert or a city perpetually mispronounced and they don’t want to go,
or they’ve just made their final mortgage payment and wander through their rooms

humming with a new, quiet panic. 

This reminded me strongly of the tone, a tone I adore, of Mark Halliday. It made made me glad to be alive. A few seconds of googling later and I was in another landscape entirely, but still haunted by that tone of poignant exuberance, like the Coyotes of the poem’s title, howling somehwere out of sight:

Marie leaned next to the door as soon as daylight thinned.
From bed he listens and tries to imagine the power it takes to cry

invented air into a pair of conjured lungs, to tuck yourself
into mesquite shadow and fool the dark into believing

you are the dark, both singer and killer, rather than hungry
and huddled against yourself, surrounded by such starving.

You can read more of Scott Weaver’s work here and here. You’ll be glad you did.

If you have a new poetry-crush in your life at the moment, I’d be delighted to hear about them. I already know whose books of poetry I am going to set up house with next.

11 Comments

  1. It’s such a treat to see your posts in the WP Reader, Anthony. I will schedule time for this post and its prompts. I have become attached to ‘scheduling’ since starting to read Kim Addonizio’s book ‘Ordinary Genius’ (recommended in this post https://robinhoughtonpoetry.co.uk/2021/09/16/trying-to-write-the-next-poem/ by Robin Houghton.) It’s working for me (so far). I’ve started a new notebook (well, it is September) and begun to paste in poems that speak to me/shake me in some way. One such is ‘Dissection of a marriage’ by Jemma Borg which in online at the TLS – I hope this link works https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/dissection-of-a-marriage-poem-jemma-borg/. Thank you, again, for your posts, they’re wonderful. Best wishes, Josephine x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Josephine! Thank you so much for your lovely comment and recommendations. I have orderd the Kim Addonizio book and am very excited by the sound of it. Thank you! I didn’t know the Jemma Borg poem -thank you for that as well. Gosh and wow. Hopefully some more posts coming your way soon – With real appreciation for your support
      Anthony x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Anthony, Whenever your posts appear, they’re welcome. I’m sticking with a slow and gentle approach to my poetry writing, closing my door against distractions for 30 minutes – such a slow beginning but small progresses are being made. I’m reading through KA’s book, giving myself permission to discard any exercises or ideas that truly don’t interest me (not many of those but at least one so far). I feel I’m grown up enough to be allowed to do this. Take care and thank you for being in touch, I appreciate that very much. Josephine x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much for your kind words, Josephine, they mean a great deal to me. KA’s book has now arrived. I am taking it slowly -savouring and not rushing. Thank you again for recommending it to me. I live by recommendations! With best to you and yours as ever, A x

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I also am a fan of recommendations! I have been so busy (family stuff) recently but I’m looking forward to properly addressing some of your recent recommendations this week. Hope it’s a good one for you. J x

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Shawna
      How wonderful to hear from you, thank you! I do kind of miss it – sometimes. On a bad day I think I’ve got to the place where I am 80% reconciled to not going back there and 20% still wanting to log in -but most of the time 100% happy never to go there again. Of course, I ‘met’ you there – so am grateful that it exists. But I did go back this summer – for about ten days – and it really did my head in. So, no. I am at peace with just not being cut out for it. With best wishes to you as ever, Anthony

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  2. I hear you, Anthony. I tend to fall in love with the new poets and writers I discover, especially when I experience some kind of transcendence from the start. I eventually determined that this process must be how I internalize and learn things. It does feel a bit like infatuation. At first, I can’t stop thinking about the writer, and read the poems or works over and over. Eventually, that fades a bit once I have spent enough time reading the works. I’m glad to know you experience the same thing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Carla. My latest post is exactly about this – the falling in love with something and then coming back to it years later and discovering it is not at all what you thought, but loving it all over again anyway. Thank you again, Anthony

      Liked by 1 person

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