O Woodchuck, My Woodchuck!

With some birthday money, I picked up a copy of Christian Wiman’s most recent collection, Every Riven Thing. The thing I like most about his writing is the even dispersal of energy throughout his poems. Every line is capably load-bearing. Punch one in the gut as hard as you can when it isn’t looking–not even a flinch. I mean this from a language deployment standpoint. Some places the meaning eludes me. Right now, I’m willing to assume the failure is on my part, but check out these examples all taken from one poem, “And I Said to My Soul, Be Loud.”

Madden me back to an afternoon
I carry in me
not like a wound . . .

. . . bash-dancing on the cellar’s fire
I am the sound the sun would make
if the sun could make a sound

And I will ride this tantrum back to God

until . . .
. . . my grief-nibbling, unbewildered, wall-to wall self
withers in me like a salted slug

I also ordered Frannie Lindsay’s Where She Always Was (more on that one at a later date) from a used bookseller, and was as pleased to find my copy had been autographed as I might be upon flipping a log and discovering a species of salamander I had never before seen. And not having to leave it in the woods when I go home.

Both volumes good to have at hand on a cool, gray evening with a fire in its place and the kids and missus delighted with the artichoke stuffed chicken I made for dinner. Nice to cook again, too.

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