Saturday, January 24, 2015


If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you've seen Simon Pettet mentioned. He's an old friend and one of my favorite poets and he has a new book of poems out from Talisman House called AS A BEE.

As always with Simon's poetry, a lot of what makes his poems so evocative and provocative is what he leaves out. He's a minimalist lyric poet with a contemporary twist on what initially seems to be irony but turns out to be sincerity in a more subtle form.

Not easy to do, and not everyone can do it, and no one does it quite like Simon. Here's an example from AS A BEE:


I climb inside the Old Woman
and peak through the eye

I trace circles on the bark
on the varnished slice
that's so proudly on display

I look up hundreds of feet
into the sky
into the canopy
of branches
where other whisperers
and other trees are growing"

When he reads his poetry to audiences, Simon often will recite one of his poems twice, the second time—slightly different in rhythm and tone—will always bring out subtleties not noticed before. I would advise anyone reading this book to do the same. Read each poem twice and see if it doesn't begin to resonate in a new way the second time.

Simon's poems demand a kind of surrender to their seeming simplicity in order to become aware of the deeper complexities he's addressing or expressing. That's my take anyway. Here's another:


Each portion
of perfect beauty
is accurately noted,
deftly remarked upon
not at all dismissed.

Clap hands mouth cliches
When did you stop loving me?
I never stopped loving you
How could you possibly say such terrible things?
I don't. You do.

You do, sweetie, you do."

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