Open Books: Events
January 11, 2013 07:30 PM
DENNIS CASWELL & JODIE MARION
We begin 2013 with the authors of two new books published by beloved Floating Bridge Press. Dennis Caswell's Phlogiston ($12) is his first full-length-collection. A software engineer in the aviation industry, he holds degrees in computer science from UC Berkeley and UCLA and spent the eighties and nineties designing and programming computer games and educational software in Northern California, where he grew up. He moved to Washington with his family in 1997 and has published his poetry in a number of journals, a sample of which we offer you here—
Watching a bagpiper gather his gawky bundle of sticks
and bladders against his body like something run over—
its organs and bones hanging out—and give it
then hearing it bleat to life like a baby dinosaur
born with a wonky septum, I want to take them
in a shoe box and feed them from an eyedropper.
in an animal park, I saw a birdcage
labeled so as to inform me
that the ounce of jitter it contained
was the last dusky seaside sparrow on earth,
and they were damn well going to keep it alive
until it exploded into dust. Of the 6,900-odd
human languages, 20 are currently spoken
by only one person. I feel responsible.
I want to give them their ancestors back
the way zoologists tried resurrecting the quagga
by breeding back from zebras,
the way musicians abjure underwear
while training their giant Jurassic spiders
to wheeze “Amazing Grace” on command,
and now that I think of it marching bands
should play “Louie, Louie” on Renaissance sackbuts,
racketts and shawms, and every house should bear
that lists every person who ever slept there.
Every name should be carved in granite somewhere.
The winner of the 2012 Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award, Jodie Marion's Another Exile on the 45th Parallel ($10) investigates through poetry the complicated marriage of the characters known as Exile and Wife. Her recent work has appeared in Best New Poets 2011, Narrative Magazine, The New Guard Literary Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Vancouver, Washington, with her husband and four children and teaches at Mt. Hood Community College. Here's a taste of her chapbook—
"Wife Writes the Year-in-Review for the
Christmas Card Insert"
Volunteer pumpkin vines took over the yard again
The pear trees bore too much fruit and sticky heaps
went to waste.
Ecclesiastic yellow jackets swarmed.
For sixteen moments there was order. Meanwhile,
I insisted wait and hope should be the same word.
I considered whether to inhabit my life or just the idea
Reasons for not falling headlong poured forth
from a garden hose. I fell anyway.
Nowadays I talk a lot about giving my eyeteeth.
A person can say that
and still stay in the world—ten thousand times at least.