Friends and Strangers,
If you're at AWP, go see WOLFMOTHER give a reading.
The epigraph to Beckian Fritz Goldberg's latest book, THE BOOK OF ACCIDENT, is from Charlie Baudelaire:
"My friend, we suffer from the disease / we have not yet contracted."
What is the disease? Adulthood? Forgetfulness? Longing? For a child we only imagine will love us before he's hunted by the Torture and Burn Boys of the last century? The speech that creates and kills in our own stories?
In this book, absence is the storybook opened in the dark. Childhood with its fears: mothers cooking their children up, children lost or abducted, children as the creatures of otherness we have forgotten we are.
In an interview with Blackbird online, she's called this book a meta-narrative, meaning there is storywork happening here, intimations of a beginning, a middle, and an end. . . The wolf child is born in a dream, meets the world, is tortured and mummified. I think--and the inventions of the book are many--that this book is as much about reading itself as it is about childhood imagination. Helene Cixous has stated that we have to become children when we read, we have to "steal the key to the library" and "kill the family"--Fritz Goldberg does both things here, reminding us how much fun it is to read fairy tales, and how dangerous. This poetry reminds us that the act of Imagining horrors is not so far off from witnessing them in the real world.
The difference between memory and dream is the psychic night of language that creates and destroys our loved ones in our own image. More on this book soon, but for now, listen:
Past, what's wrong with you?
I would have disappeared earlier,
thrown a handful of wicked-self-dust,
but somehow that sadness
from years ago wanted to have
a candle. Reflection
walked all over the fountain's pond,
with wingmeal in it.
It's the nature of now
the gleam where you look is not where it came from.
All that now
is good for
is beginning another story
like the old ones
that began, Let's take the children out to the woods
and leave them.
The past, Friends and Strangers, is as much our own creation as it is the mirror-source of longing. We are the blurred refraction of our dreams.
This is a an imaginary diary of facts, confessions, or messages. This is a notebook of working but broken ideas, lines, images, notes on books I'm reading, writers I admire, and brief fantasies of language. Here unfiltered all mannerings pseudo-private, publicized, ur-. Here I am art and unrevealed: poetic, political and pop. These are my moonlit rough beginnings and should not be taken literally, directly, truthfully, reliably, and none of it is legally binding. These lies are all choreographed, but only haphazardly. Beware.
My work has been awarded the Katherine C. Turner Prize from the Academy of American Poets, a Swarthout Award, and has twice been nominated and shortlisted for the Pushcart Prize. My first book, A Book Called Rats, was selected for the Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry (Eastern Washington University Press 2007). I'm curating editor for the online journal of poetry: PISTOLA and my poems and reviews most recently appear in Massachusetts Review, Beloit, Ploughshares and RAIN TAXI. I currently teach writing and literature at Santa Monica College in southern California.
FRIENDS AND STRANGERS
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