I wish I could have read Skasers when I was alive. — D.H. Lawrence
As good if not better than the late work by Matisse. — Gertrude Stein
EVERYTHING THAT IS BEAUTIFUL IS EDIBLE reads Cody-Rose Clevidence’s mercurial cover. That’s not true my daughter says, what about poisonous flowers? There are other kinds of eating I say. O yes. O polymorphic postapocapocalyptic walk through the still existent lichen, these words turn me on in a way I’ve been missing but didn’t yet know it, eating such a melting, a melding emotion “is my coveted [my] ripped [form].” Our own Dewdney-esque mad food we need to breed the living poem, to out the “oil rig in my persimmon,” “you climax to a forest” “THAT THERE IS NO SACRED THING” “but beautiful —” How far can reader and writer go with each other?
–Lee Ann Brown
The Strings of Walnetto Arrangements, a new book by Ben Estes.
Reading Ben’s book feels like making out feels; that divine blindness, that absorption into someone else’s body. Of course, sigh, the eros of ecstatic dissolution is also a precipice we always go over, falling into what that feeling seems to promise, true love, & later often, unbearable loss. It’s the knowledge of that edge that gives this book its special resolution which is like an altar in auroras of candle light, lens flares here & there, then…something sacred swims into moving relief. Also, oh my god, these poems have the most gorgeous diction, moving from almost archaic lilts to these heartbreaking, plain declarations–”We sons of hunger have not lost anything./We do not know anything, have nothing left to sell,/we will try to help, will not betray/the distant, desperate future of the world.” In these poems that world is micd at each marvelous conjuncture, where love letter, ash, & moonlight merge to form the instrument you’d always hoped life would yield, so you could, after all that time, hear the sound you’d been searching for forever.
With the delicacy of lace and the artifice of punk Ben Estes new book is by turns wild, tender, conceptual, and tough. Inside we find honest laughter and tears, a formal movement akin to a kite and its tail, and the feeling of a toy piano and the magical room it lives in. Lovely. Wow. Hats off to Elaine Kahn and Thurston Moore for launching a great first book under their new imprint flowers & cream. Hooray!