Poetry | May 10, 2012

Winner of the 2012 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize for Poetry.

Poems in this feature:

  • Siberia
  • The Hate Poem
  • If Any Man Have an Ear, Let Him Listen [Poem of the Week April 29, 2012]
  • Senior Coffee

Meet the Author:

Some months after finishing the poems that became Talking About Movies With Jesus, I began to miss Jesus. Really, I began to miss all my pals from “the other side,” so I decided to get in contact again. In rapid succession, I wrote about an encounter with the Devil in the Atlanta airport, a trip to hell with Jesus and his dog and a talk on a beach in Hawai’i with the Antichrist. As is always the case, I never know what I’m going to say when I begin a poem. Then again, do you know what you’re going to say when you start any conversation? If you did, I can’t imagine you conversing very long. Or very happily, either.

“here are two Antichrists, one who looks just like Jesus and then the other who has all the heads and crowns, and it’s this second one that was the obvious choice for me. Now make no mistake: Kirby is a man of peace and wishes no harm to any creature great or small. But as you’ll see, after a vigorous chat with the Antichrist, I kind of admired him. That is, I admired his voice. I wanted to sound like him. I’d like to think that if I had all those heads and crowns I’d be a force for good, not ill. The main thing, though, is that I was fascinated by the thing that every poet wants more than anything else, which is a voice that no ear can resist.

I use my other poems as well as little problem-solving machines, mechanisms to help me figure stuff out: what Russia’s like, what’s it like to get older, how I really feel about my friends.  And, sure, that first-person pronoun pops up a lot, but, hey—as Borges says, “I am ashamed to have spoken of my own personal case, except for the fact that people always hope for confessions and I have no reason to deny them mine.”

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