At work, we have a section in the paper called “Western lit,” where my editor reviews books written by Nevada writers. This week, we covered a poetry anthology called Absentia by William Stobb. I haven’t read through a poetry book in a long time, but the poem we featured in the article really struck me so I’m reading through the rest of the book.
This book is largely inspired by the author’s time in Nevada. I can’t remember if I’ve read poetry by a Nevada author before, but I am enjoying it because I’m able to connect to the locations he writes about. His poems are funny, witty, touching, and insightful. I may have a new favorite poet.
So far, my favorite poem of his is called “At the Edge of Perfect Adequacy.”
Harsh and consoling, deeply roaming
final precincts of oblivion and trials of encounter.
Neither unbounded singularity nor dread
of solitude, best known unmasked,
we emit organized sounds in the shape of X.
There is no complete echo.
There is no unbounded animal.
Three roads meet between Thebes and Delphi.
Conduct springs from wells deeper than
a private tongue refusing any relation.
Inward eye to purchase wider than.
Peregrine towards waking
the persuasion of our fiber.
Our condition is stranger.
Listen to Stobb’s recorded version of his poem here. I love hearing poets perform their own work. I’ve always been pretty bad at reading aloud my poetry.
The lines I put in bold are my favorite, but I love each part of this poem. I’m enthralled with the idea of “no unbounded animal.” I’ve been thinking of concepts of tribes, natives, primal, nomadic lifestyles and ancient rituals for the book I’ve been outlining, and those lines seem to encompass an essence of restricted wildness, which is interesting. I’m still working through the meaning of the poem but the language and references to mythology stood out to me.
I’m preparing for NaNoWriMo this week, and I find that reading great poetry inspires me and gets me in the mood to write. I find it easier to read poetry than novels before embarking on my own writing. It helps me to be more conscious about each word I choose. It helps me to make each line count.