Thursday, 31 January 2008
Next I took a stroll about the bookfair. Oh, I love the bookfair. I picked up the latest issue of Rain Taxi, looked at Peter Gizzi's latest from Wesleyan with the hope of having the money to buy it later, glanced over the fondly familiar titles at the Shearsman table, and was surprised to see quite a number of journals I'd not heard of before. I look forward to a closer survey later, when I have more time.
The last couple days have been fairly quiet. I made it to the National Museum of the American Indian on Tuesday, joined the Bath Spa crowd for dinner at Remi, and introduced Tim Liardet and his son Joe to El Centro, where I had dinner on my own Monday night. Tim, Joe and I enjoyed their delicious house margaritas, made with Herradura tequila (a recent acquaintance), and had a great time. Last night, dinner was at the Red Eye Grill, which specializes in seafood; everyone shared perfect guacamole and blue corn chips as a starter, and my meal was an again perfect dish, of scallops with grilled vegetables and a tomato coulis.
This afternoon I'm manning Bath Spa's booth with Tim, then attending the Russell Edson tribute with Mr. Edson himself, James Tate, Charles Simic, and Robert Bly--I can hardly wait!
Monday, 28 January 2008
Lytton and I took a long walk uptown to a restaurant called 107 West, where I had a delicious chargrilled chicken breast with a wonderful spicy tomato-y sauce spread over the top, mashed potatoes, and greens. We headed back toward his apartment and stopped in at a bar called Coogan's, where, over one too many pints, we "set the poetry world to rights" (Lytton's words). It's such a pleasure to talk to a fellow transatlantic poet about the continuities and discontinuities between the UK and US poetry scenes, as well as update one another on our home culture's developments.
Today I've come to Midtown, where I'm staying at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers and enjoying the quality of it all.
Sunday, 27 January 2008
"In the country of individuation, I struck out like a match"
"the debtor--about to receive knell to what peace he might otherwise recall--worries his page"
"how far, indeed, can the soul swim out through the eyes and still return safely to its nest? That it be possible I cannot leave."
"Sometimes a welling up: I've lost thought in images. Night: a blank. The stars just stars."
"we tread with the intensity of hounds"
"The soul negotiates its right of way. O consciousness, but not without a bargain struck without."
On our return Lytton and I talked for a while before he headed for a late gathering with some friends (something that would never happen in London, given tube closing times) and I looked at some lit mags for a while before crashing (and crashing is the word).
This morning I woke just before six a.m., and from the sixth floor window, I could see the city below, with the sky dark overhead and the streets lit by shop signs and streetlights below. I drafted a poem, "Pleurisy," before going back to sleep for a couple hours. When I woke again, I read around a bit before drafting another short piece. Today's day 6 of my writing spree (where I write or must average a poem a day), and I feel quickened. Also, with the regularity and frequency of my writing during a spree, I tend to vary more in my shapes/forms; today, for example, I found myself writing in short-lined couplets, something I haven't done for some time.
Lytton took me to a nearby diner for breakfast: $3.50 for eggs, toast, a thimbleful (close) of juice, coffee, and breakfast potatoes. Later, we headed for Soho and the Bowery area, stopping in at Housing Works Bookstore and Cafe, where I found a (supposedly) used copy of Mary Jo Bang's latest, Elegy. From there we walked to St. Mark's Bookshop, where I bought a book I've long meant to read, Susan Howe's My Emily Dickinson, recently republished with a new introduction by Eliot Weinberger.
Walking out of St. Mark's, I decided on a $100 book, $50 magazine budget for the trip. I'm going on the illusion of having U.S. money from having transferred money to my U.S. account just before Christmas, to cover my expenses on that trip and pay as many future student loan payments as possible. This illusion was probably enhanced by this week's receipt of a $100 check from The New Republic for "Postmarked."
For lunch Lytton and I stopped at a falafel place that actually sells baked falafels. With a fair dose of tahini, that balanced out the dryness of the chickpea pucks, the falafel was pretty good.
At 3:30 Lytton and I arrived at The Bowery Poetry Club. It's as cool as it sounds; I really like the atmosphere of its performance space. We were there to hear Susan Howe read, and it was good we were there early for close seats, as the place was standing room only by the time the event began.
Susan Howe read perfectly. I cannot think of a single tiny thing I would have had her do differently. She read first from Pierce Arrow; next from The Midnight, which she described as being centered on "her mother, insomnia, sewing," etc. I need to buy or borrow a copy, to read for myself the wonderful section on the bird woman (don't try imagining what this means in advance, unless you want your expectations mocked by the creative power of the work).
Lastly, she read from her new book, Souls of the Labadie Tract, and from that the poem/sequence, "118 Westerly Terrace," about Wallace Stevens' house and what it was for her to be in it. I think my mouth hung open as I admired what I heard and waited, fully engaged, to hear how the piece would unfold. That's the standard to aim for, I thought.
After the reading, Lytton and I parted, he to visit his girlfriend, I to tromp about, which lead me about Soho and into Greenwich Village. Amid this tromping I came to Mercer Street Books, where I found a painfully strong poetry section. The first "narrowing down" resulted in a stack of seven books, at which point I asked myself, Which ones do I absolutely have to buy? The answer was Susan Wheeler's Ledger, which I've been wanting to read since I learned of its existence (I've been following her since her first book, Bag 'o' Diamonds; for those of you who don't know her work, Ledger is her fourth); and Brenda Iijima's Animate, Inanimate Aims. I was curious about her book as it's a recent Litmus Press title, and she turned out to be one of the organizers of today's reading. We met when I was waiting to have Howe sign some books, and I said I'd try to make it to her signing at AWP. I was startled, less than an hour after meeting Iijima, to find a copy of her book.
I had some fairly good Chinese food for dinner before heading back to Washington Heights, the area in which Lytton lives. Nearby I picked up a bottle of Chilean reserve Cabernet, Santa Rita, luckily delicious, and climbed the six floors to Lytton's apartment (yes, six, and I've been up them four times in just over 24 hours). It's 11 here, I'm feeling sleepy, and I'll continue reading Ledger (I began reading it on the restaurant and continued on the subway; I'm about halfway through already) and perhaps do some writing. I've had a perfect day.
Friday, 25 January 2008
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
"I was looking at the ny flights today...232 quid if i wanted to leave wednesday (no doubt you'll be going business class now you have a publishing deal)"
Tuesday, 22 January 2008
There are larger issues as well. Perhaps the most significant decision I've made relative to this position has been to bring out The Tethers first (though Divining for Starters was already accepted), given the polarization of avant garde and mainstream poetries in the UK. Or is that not so much about my being a transatlantic writer as my having produced two rather different manuscripts in this polarized landscape?
The only benefit I see is my participation in two countries' poetry cultures. In 2003 and '04 I focused my submissions almost exclusively on UK magazines, to enter the conversation, as it were, and now I think the submissions are about 60/40 or 70/30 UK/US--though that may change a bit after I raid the AWP bookfair (my idea of heaven) for interesting magazines!
Saturday, 19 January 2008
I began by writing to poets whose work I admired and trawling the internet for other UK women poets I may not have heard of; I also wrote and spoke to other poets, female and male, to ask for recommendations. Then I came upon Juliana Spahr and Stephanie Young's "Numbers Trouble" (thanks to Chicago Review for making a PDF of the article available) and Catherine Wagner's forum, "Post-Marginal Positions: Women and the UK Experimental/Avant-Garde Poetry Community," which made me contextualise the work I wanted to do to an extent I hadn't before. Responses in Wagner's forum clarified the value of such an anthology for others in both the UK and US, while Spahr and Young's essay led me to reflect on the potential interpretations of such an anthology. For me, the result was that I realised I needed to develop an extended account of my reasons for the anthology's publication and contents, both for myself and for readers.
Now it's January '08, and I'm aiming for a February 2009 publication date so I can propose (and be ready for) an anthology launch reading at the AWP conference in Chicago, with a subsequent launch to occur in London. Of the established poets, Geraldine Monk and Maggie O'Sullivan have declined to participate, and I have not had any response from Denise Riley. Alternately, I am pleased that Redell Olsen, Frances Presley, Harriet Tarlo, Caroline Bergvall, and Wendy Mulford have all committed to the project, and such emerging or mid-career poets as Andrea Brady, Marianne Morris, Emily Critchley, Elisabeth Bletsoe, Zoe Skoulding, Frances Kruk, Isobel Armstrong, Carol Watts, Anne Blonstein, Claire Crowther, and others have also said yes (and I already have impressive selections from Bletsoe, Kruk, and Watts). Another dozen have work with me under serious consideration, and I am still trying to find a handful of others. I have also had a good number of open submissions from my calls on several listservs. This part of the process has been exciting, reading the range of work and feeling that the work in the anthology will be of high quality. It's a book I think others will enjoy reading, and that pleases me.
Saturday, 12 January 2008
The work I admire most is the prose poetry sequence, "One to Bet: A Jerusalem Pamphlet," surely one of the best prose poetry sequences I've ever read. Of course that raises the question, How many prose poetry sequences have you read, Carrie? I'm not sure, but I think I'll continue believing this to be one of the best prose poetry sequences I've read for a long time to come.
Here are a few quotations from that sequence (which fail to give any sense of the power of the whole):
"Conducive to ambling, the street, like the sound of its name, was something of a refuge for me from all things linear...."
"In the fin-de-siècle suck of unknowing...our increasingly pathetic idea of an origin."
"Priests, then, in the evolution of tribes that number stand-up comics among them also. So it is that one comes upon curiously vaudeville qualities in the most serious of fifth or eighth century rabbinical texts."
"...where one always pays twice, in the unfair economies of song."
"And thinking is infinite, and the angel a ladder leaned against it."
"So that the word itself, ahava [love], is like the medieval wheel of fortune that spins one into the vertigo of the full circle in motion. In medieval picture books the figures on the wheel cling as desperately when they near the top as when they begin their descent toward the foul-smelling slough of despond."
"...establishing the Edenic origin of the flinch between innocence and wit along the shifting length of the serpent."
Thursday, 10 January 2008
Wednesday, 9 January 2008
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
Monday, 7 January 2008
Sunday, 6 January 2008
Saturday, 5 January 2008
Friday, 4 January 2008
Thursday, 3 January 2008
Tuesday, 1 January 2008
"...these poems are also finely wrought and immensely sensual--the poet 'fingering my small store of words / held on the tongue' ('Divining for Starters (53)'). Even as closure is endlessly deferred, the poems are gathered together by a careful patterning of sound and sense."
"This is of course not simply the hypnotic dream of a train moving through the night, but the drift of language from any fixed reference point. And it is this carefully controlled and haunting slipperiness that makes Carrie Etter's second collection so extraordinary."
"...these lean, fleeting poems operate outside linear time, and outside traditional literary concepts of the start, of progress, and of climax. In this sense, Etter not only subverts our "obsession with beginnings" but gains intimacy with the reader, allowing us to keep pace with her thoughts, and to slip in and out of the atmospheres and sensations she has created."
Poems are presently forthcoming in The Hardy Review, The Iowa Review, The Jewish Quarterly, Poetry Wales, Shearsman, and Tears in the Fence.
Alaska Quarterly Review
"The Son." (16.3-4: 1998, 237)
"New Hampshire's New Bishop," "Treeline," "Divining for Starters (29)." (6: Fall 2006, 107-09)
"Imagined Sons 2: The Birthmother, The Adoptive Mother & Their Surfer Boy." (Summer 2003, 75)
"Seed," "Divining for Starters (54)," "Divining for Starters (57)." (3: 2008, 48-50)
"The Honeymoon of Our Attraction." (41: Spring 2005, 128)
"Sissy Jupe's Bedroom." (46.1: April 2004, 39)
"Short Break." (16.3: 2004, 94)
"Cycle," "The Passage." (11: Winter 2006)
"Red Acre," "Infidel's Prayer," "Midnight, Illinois." (22: May 2003)
"Horace's Wet Clothes." (7: March 2003, 51)
"Were It Eden." (VI: Sept/Oct 2005, 29)
"Vermilion." (VII: Feb/Mar 2006, 17)
"Collecting the Ridges." (VIII: July/Aug 2006, 19)
"Dream of a Field," "Almandine." (Autumn 2007, 17, 49)
The Los Angeles Review
"The Perfect Box Is Not a Box." (2004)
"Almandine," "The Doctrine of Assent." (6: 2000, 54-55)
"The Trapeze Artist's Dear John Letter," "Almost." (14: 2003, 54-55)
"The Wake." (15: 2004, 11)
"Celestina Sommer, Cause Celebre." (19: 2003, 33)
The New Republic
"The Colony of Us." (228.4613: 16 June 2003, 30)
"Postmarked." (237.4825: 19 Nov 2007, 46)
New Welsh Review
"The Drain's Trickle," "The Long Night." (59: Spring 2003, 59-60)
"The Score," "Crowd of One." (2004?)
"The Dinner Party," "Hardscrabble." (75: Spring 2007, 54)
"Subterfuge for the Unrequitable." (last issue, 2004)
Orange Coast Review (all second publications after first apperances in UK journals)
"The Wake," "Occasional Poem," "Americana, Station by Station." (2006, 99-101)
"San Fernando Valley Love Song," "As If to Say." (2007, 69-70)
"The Letter." (2008, 23)
Poetry Ireland Review
"Convalescence." (85: 2006, 42)
"Birthday." (90: 2007, 22)
"The Meal." (94: Summer 2008, 44-45)
"The Lengthening Winter," "Convicted," "The Day Will Not Rhyme," "Water's Edge," "The Vantage." (155/30.3: Jan-Feb 2004, 55-56)
"Here Comes the Sun," "Outpost," "Occasional Poem." (162/31.4: Mar-Apr 2005, 58)
"Imagined Sons 1: First Son," "Imagined Sons 2: The Birthmother, The Adoptive Mother & Their Surfer Boy," "Imagined Sons 3: At the Fifties Cafe," "Imagined Sons 4: Introducing Myself as His (The First Supermarket Dream)," "Imagined Sons 5: The Friend (Part 1)," "Imagined Sons 6: The Magician," "Imagined Sons 7: The Second Supermarket Dream," "Imagined Sons 8: A British University," "Imagined Sons 9: Seed Corn," "Imagined Sons 10: The Friend (Part 2)," "Imagined Sons 11: Mexico," "Imagined Sons 12: The Courthouse." (175: May/June 2007: 28-30)
"The Cult of the Eye." (92.4: Winter 2002/3, 16)
"Fin de Siecle," "Pathetic Fallacy as Necessary," "Escalation." (93.2: 2003, 12-14)
"The Taboo," "Land-lock." (93.3: 2003, 14-15)
"Election." (94.3: 2004, 49)
"Biopsy." (97.3: 2007, 51)
"Cycling to the World's Edge," "Winter Solstice," "Fence of Pines." (32.4: April 1997, 7-8)
"San Fernando Valley Love Song." (39.1: 2003, 39)
"Days in Mlada Boleslav," "The Assenting Castaway." (2008)
"Quartet," "Beyond Any Power," "Eurydice," "The Ache," "Into the Rain," "Adoption Birthday," "The Allotment," "Journey by Train." (4: 2003, 55-60)
"Early Spring." (26: 2007, 37)
The Republic of Letters
"A Mile from the Cornfield." (55: May 2004, 8)
"Four Hours from the Coast." (59: Midwinter 2005/06, 52)
"Again Tonight, My Sister." (64: 2008, 35)
"Gardens," "I Bear Your Ashes." (5.2: 1998, 4-5)
"The Parents." (6.2: 1999, 59)
"The Prayer, or The Bike Path from Venice Beach to Malibu." (7.2: 2001, 9)
"Outside of Town," "After Class." (8.2: 2003: 42-43)
"Once." (11.2: 2006, 46)
"Leash." (12.2: 2007, 133)
"The First Day of Detasseling," "The Five." (2008)
"Communion," "Her Answers." (26.1: Spring 1996, 51-52)
"The Articulate, Speechless." (29.1: 1999, 71)
"Kassandra." (32.2: 2002, 50)
"The Name," "The Lovers." (34.2: Fall 2004, 50-2)
"Seven and Ten," "The Marriage." (5: 2007, 114-15)
"Divining for Starters (6)," "Divining for Starters (8)," "Divining for Starters (9)," "Divining for Starters (10)," "Divining for Starters (13)." (51: 2002, 19-20)
"Ginger," "Divining for Starters (16)," "Another Obituary for Poetry." (54: Spring 2003, 17-18)
"More Than Bone," "Divining for Starters (17)," "Divining for Starters (18)," "Divining for Starters (19)," "Divining for Starters (21)." (60: Autumn 2004, 18-20)
"The National Muse," "Gathering (1)," "Want," "The Fever Box." (65/66: Winter 2005/6, 58-59)
"Inheritance," "The Final Performance," "Law of Gravity," "Signified." (67/68: Spring/Summer 2006, 55-56)
"The Occupation of Iraq," "My Early Days in the British Academy," "Divining for Starters (36)," "Divining for Starters (42)," "Divining for Starters (43)." (73/74: Winter 2007/08, 5-8)
"McLean County Highway 39," "Divining for Starters (50)," "Divining for Starters (52)." (2008)
"Estate Management," "Goldenrod, foot by yard," "Under beer and on the humid," "The Return." (11/12: July-October 2001)
"Gingersome," "The Missing Roses," "Divining for Starters (7)." (16: 2002)
"The Separation," "The Sty." (6.4 and 7.1/181: 200, 29-30)
The Tall Lighthouse Review
"After and Before," "When We." (2006)
"The Exquisite Deferral," "Steady as She Goes," "Promised." (12: 2002, 14-15)
"Three Statues," "Unspoken Rather Than Undone," "Chronophobia (5)." (13: 2005, 15-16)
"Retraced," "Divining for Starters (23)," "Turning the Page." (14: 2006, 31-32)
"Americana, Station by Station," "Object Lesson, June." (20-21: 2002, 19)
The Times Literary Supplement
"The Daughters of Prospero." (5211: 14 Feb 2003, 7)
"Late Winter, Early Year." (5213: 28 Feb 2003, 11)
"The Review." (5244: 3 Oct 2003, 4)
"Talking with Beccaria." (5264: 20 Feb 2004, 19)
"Seaborne." (5271: 9 Apr 2004, 11)
"The Bonds." (5298: 15 Oct 2004, 6)
"Axes for Crutches." (5312: 21 Jan 2005, 10)
"Citizenship." (7 Oct 2005)
"Magnum Opus," "The World at Dusk." (5373: 24 Mar 2006, 27)
"The Diagnosis." (5417: 26 Jan 2007, 15)
"His Pantoum." (5437: 15 June 2007, 14)
"The War's Fourth Year." (5438: 22 June 2007, 5)
"A Birthmother's Catechism (September 11, 1986)." (5450: 14 Sept 2007, 15)
"David Smith, Wagon II, 1964." (5457: 2 Nov 2007, 31)
"Fear of Lightning." (5463: 14 Dec 2007, 29)
"Pleurisy." (2 May 2008)
"A Birthmother's Catechism (September 11, 2006)." (12 Dec 2008, 8)
The Warwick Review
"Prescription for the Impatient." (1.2: June 2007, 123)
"Siren." (2.1: March 2008, 44)
"The Tethers." (2008)
In anthologies (by year)
"Hand over Fist," "Okra." GRAND PASSION: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond. Eds. Suzanne Lummis and Charles Harper Webb. Los Angeles, CA: Red Wind Books, 1995. 45-46
"Her Answers." Anthology of Magazine Verse and Yearbook of American Poetry 1995/1996. Palm Springs, CA: Monitor Book Co., 1997.
"Sacred Ground," "The Birthmother's Handbook." Starting Rumors: America's Next Generation of Writers. Grand Junction, CO: Pinyon Press, 1999. 49-51
"The Articulate, Speechless." Incidental Buildings & Accidental Beauty: An Anthology of Orange County/Long Beach Poets. Huntington Beach, CA: Tebot Bach, 2001. 36.
"The Blue Horses," "Signing the Adoption Papers." Beyond the Valley of Contemporary Poets: 2001 Anthology. Eds. Brendan Constantine and Amelie Frank. VCP Press, 2002. (unpaginated)
"Sunday Afternoon." So Luminous the Wildflowers: An Anthology of California Poets. Ed. Paul Suntup. Huntington Beach, CA: Tebot Bach Press, 2003. 63.
"The Trapeze Artist's Dear John Letter." The Forward Book of Poetry 2005. London: Forward/Faber, 2004. 83.
"Drought," "Divorce." New Writing 14. Eds. Lavinia Greenlaw and Helon Habila. London: Granta, 2006. 145-6.
"The Bonds." Blue Arc West: An Anthology of California Poets. Ed. Paul Suntup, Dima Hilal, and Mindy Nettifee. Huntington Beach, CA: Tebot Bach Press, 2006. 48.
"Collecting the Ridges." All That Mighty Heart: London Poems. Ed. Lisa Russ Spaar. University of Virginia Press, 2008.
"The Forecast." Feeling the Pressure: Poetry and Science of Climate Change." Ed. Paul Mundun. Berne, Switzerland: British Council, 2008. 19.
"The Daughters of Prospero." Women's Work: Modern Women Poets Writing in English. Eds. Eva Salzman and Amy Wack. Brigend: Seren Books, 2008. 235
Winner of the London New Poetry Award 2010, sponsored by Coffee-House Poetry and Cegin Productions, for the best first collection of poetry published in the UK and Ireland in the last year. Judge Daljit Nagra commented, "It’s rare to find a poet having quite so much fun with language and life as Carrie Etter. The poems perform acrobatics with forms as they are driven by the possibilities of words so each piece seems to arrive at its own unexpected and surprised ending. What’s most impressive is Etter’s restless mind that fetches odd allusions or steers off into tangents in a way that always compels us to make the journey. It’s also rare to find a poet who can persistently find joy through suffering with such an assured lightness of touch which defies its lucid surface. A persistently witty and beautifully moving book that is carefully themed and linguistically patterned so that it feels more like the collection of an experienced poet." You can buy it from Foyle's (UK) here or from The Book Depository for free delivery anywhere else in the world.
Tuesday, 9 June 2009, 7 p.m. London launch! Fyvie Hall, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW. Come to enjoy some wine and a short reading.
Thursday, 11 June 2009, 8 p.m. Bath launch! Bath Spa University Reading Series, Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute, Queen Square, Bath. Reading with Lee Harwood.
Saturday, 20 June 2009. The University of Warwick, Coventry. Day event featuring The Warwick Review in conjunction with the university's alumni day. Claire Crowther and Tiffany Atkinson will also read and talk about their work.
Sunday, 23 August 2009, 7 p.m. Myopic Books Poetry Reading Series, Chicago. Reading with James Shea, author of Star in the Eye (Fence Books, 2008).
Wednesday, 9 September 2009, 4:20 p.m.. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Student Union, Terre Haute, Indiana.
Thursday, 10 September 2009, 6 p.m.. Rachael's Cafe, 300 E. Third St., Bloomington, Indiana.
Tuesday, 15 September 2009. Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois.
Friday, 9 and Saturday, 10 October 2009. St Helier, Jersey. A reading on Friday night followed by a workshop on Saturday afternoon.
Monday, 2 November 2009. Alchemy Reading and Performance Series, The Globe Cafe, Prague. I'll also run some writing workshops at The English College in Prague earlier in the day.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009. Marlborough College, Marlborough. A workshop with students, a reading, and a dinner.
Thursday, 3 December 2009, 7:30 p.m. Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. Reading with Vuyelwa Carlin, followed by an open mic.
Thursday, 4 February 2010, 8 p.m. Fire River Poets, Brewhouse Theatre, Taunton. Includes an open mic. £5.
Monday, 8 February 2010, 7 p.m. The University of Plymouth's Peninsula Arts literature series. Reading with Jane Griffiths. £5, concessions £3, students, friends and faculty free.
Monday, 22 February 2010, 8 p.m. The Coffee House Poetry Series at The Troubadour, London. "Escarmouches II: War of Independence" with Alan Jenkins, Roddy Lumsden, and Molly Peacock. Reading and discussion of the poetries of the US and UK, how they interact and differ. £7, concessions £6.
Saturday, 27 February 2010, 4:30 p.m. "New Narratives," Annual Academi Literary Conference, Pontfaen, Wales. Reading with Gillian Clarke, Joe Dunthorne, and Kathryn Gray, followed by question and answer session.
Thursday, 11 March 2010, 8 p.m. International Women's Poetry, Lauderdale House, London. Reading with Annie Freud and Shanta Acharya. £5, £3 concessions.
Thursday, 25 March 2010, 8 p.m. E.g. poetry, The Red Roaster Cafe, Brighton. North American poetry night with Naomi Foyle and Todd Swift, with open mic. £5, concs £4.
Saturday, 3 April 2010, 2-3:30 p.m. The Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery, New York City. Reading with Molly Peacock. $8.
For further readings, please see Readings & Events.
"Carrie Etter is an American expatriate, and her poetry is rootless in the best sense: it moves over wide-ranging territory and seems able to make itself at home anywhere. Although The Tethers is her first collection, Etter fully possesses her material," evincing "intelligence and authority."
Carrie Etter's "marvellously pithy and eloquent collection bursts with repressed urges and shudders [...]. There is electricity in these poems, and a tactile, nervous energy. [...] The writing is keen and intimate, tainted with incipient regret, and more than a hint of the terrible power of recollection to distract and distort."
Richard Gwyn, Poetry Wales
"Etter's neat, tight free verse holds back from expressing explicit emotion, letting the reader feel it instead. [...] The best poems try to pinpoint consciousness changing moment by moment, and have their own integrity, as in 'Crowd of One':
For minutes, sometimes hours, a single tap
Meditating on this, the reader summons images of fertility, of Annunciation. You have to listen very hard to Etter's subtleties, and then your own answering imagination repays you."
Michele Roberts, The Warwick Review
"There is much to admire in Carrie Etter's The Tethers too. [...] hers is an assured, confident voice. There is a wide variety here in both form and subject matter and I particularly enjoyed the many pieces with a literary flavour; the prose poems, those which put a new spin on relationships and the ones which display flashes of wit. I also admired the range of shapes on the page and the spareness and economy."
Carole Bromley, The North
"In remarking the constancy of water, Etter overturns Catullus' cliché: that the words of women should be written on water, because both are untethered and trustless. Like "Millais' Ophelia" (another fine observational poem), Etter knows the weight of water, its bound composition. In "The Bonds", where the poem's title resonates through multiple discourses from chemistry to "the -ologies of more elusive chemistries", water reflects back history's constancy in mutability, coded through language's adaptable clarity, words like water's surface revealing hidden treasures in their depths. Findings rich and strange arrive with each re-reading."
"Many contemporary poets blow away in the gale of nihil and nonsense that life is becoming, but some still try to weather it – Carrie Etter is one of the few to have found strong roots to cling to, and one of the very few in whose lines one can discern the flesh-and-blood figure of a witness wholly alive, alert to the evidence, unsparing but unjudging, getting it down by heart. Sorrowing, glad, graceful, The Tethers is a rich and significant debut."
"The Tethers is full of highly intelligent, often finely cadenced and in the best sense measured poetry. Carrie Etter deftly fuses accents of modern America and England with a strong sense of the Classics. Nuanced, lyrical, occasionally humorous, these poems reveal time after time an acute sense of 'the rise and fall of what we cannot moor.'"
"Terse, wry, discreetly metaphysical, Carrie Etter's poems have the economy of good jokes. She touches her subjects obliquely, with tact: the fury and the mire are acknowledged but held at bay by this art of highly intelligent suggestion. A first book to be remarked."
At the question
of lung capacity,
the radiator pops
and hisses, a fox
can only be metaphor.
You and that hunk
of metal wheeze.
Sixth floor, Manhattan,
six a.m. winter dark
looks like so much
air to be had.
The fox is stealth.
I almost miss it.
Bracken, brambles, and bindweed obscure my castle
that would otherwise gleam in the midday sun.
I hauled the rock hither. I carved it into blocks.
I studied the history of architecture before I set a stone.
Perhaps gleam exaggerates the image.
Perhaps the walls’ pallor appears a sheer white
under the encroaching summer, and the buttresses
bear few but portentous fissures.
The castle also lacks a good bed, which is to say
that once I hack through this derisive vegetation,
I will mount the highest turret and wave my arm in grand sweeps.
I may hire some extras or bribe my friends to stand below.
I may drag the miles of bindweed down the corridors,
up the stairwells, and burn, burn, burn my fortress through.
Then may the pundits come and mourn.
Then may I lie on a kind mattress and dream of bungalows.
Both poems originally appeared in The Times Literary Supplement.