Purchased: Porter Square Books
Recommended By: Picked it up because I liked the cover, and I flipped through it and enjoyed every poem I read.
Pages Of Poetry: 55
Recommended For: People who love conversations with friends where they use plain language to tell you unexpected stories that make you smile, laugh, or nod your head. Anyone who enjoys a book where they think "I would totally go to lunch with that writer and just listen to them talk for hours."
It's been a while since I picked up
a book at random
in the poetry section of a bookstore and thought
This is perfect. Usually,
one of the first two poems wrinkles
my nose. And sometimes this reaction
is wrong. I have to confess
the first time I flipped through Claudia Rankine's
Citizen, I thought this is too ziney
for me. It just doesn't connect with me.
We all make mistakes in bookstores.
How glad I am that this was not one of them.
Shapero had me locked in at
My Hair Is My Thing and then never
let go. "Last week I read a novel about a man
so awful that when he died I wept
because it was fiction." devestated me
in precisely the right ways. Then the death,
the funeral, the parade, the tattoo, the burial. All
of this perfect storytelling.
I liked all the titles AND what stared up from them.
I liked where the white space fell.
How every first line was the continuation of a story
I had been waiting years to hear. The subject
doesn't matter. I was always looking at the page
wondering And then? Sure that I'd be nodding along
mmmmhmmming with the resolution, ready for the next story.
1. The Suggested Face For Sorry. What hasn't killed you that should have? Running across a highway, fifty years of smoking, tripping on a diving board and falling into a pool where there was no one to save you from drowning? Did it make you feel lucky? Stupid? Immortal? If someone witnessed it, what did/would they think? How did it change you, if it changed you at all?
2. Five By Seven. When you walk into someone's house, or a hotel room, or a classroom for the first time, what's the sort of thing that would prejudice you against the person who decorated it? What does an Eat, Pray, Love pillow, or a painting of themself hanging out with Jesus, or a gold-framed poster from "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" tell you about the person who inhabits the room? Why does it make you want to leave?
3. Weekend. What household chore do you totally not mind doing? Imagine (or remember, if it's a thing that actually happened to you) a conversation with a neighbor or a relative about that chore. Now let the conversation drift to where they tell you something that should probably make you uncomfortable but instead makes you laugh with them. What kind of people are you?
4. Other Things, If Not More Urgent Things. Write yourself a litany. Begin with a series of How To book titles that you wish existed, and then let the list wander away from How To books to other things you wish you had in your personal library. Then leave the library behind, and allow the list to recommend places to travel. See where the lists will take you.
5. Home, Followed by Tall Buildings. Begin the poem with the ghost line:
"Why do I have to remember the whole
of the trauma"
I've read this book a few times since I've purchased it. I've read selections from it during the Saturday Night Themed Poetry Exchange, I've used it for prompts, I go back and read selections from this book after I accidentally read a poetry book that doesn't sit well with me. Just a poem or two from Popular Longing, and I remember what I love about poetry.
Where You Can Buy This Book: Copper Canyon Press
What You Should Read After:
Jennifer L Knox's Crushing It
Adrian Matejka's Somebody Else Sold The World
Richard Siken's War Of The Foxes
Megan Fernandes's Good Boys
Matt Cook's In The Small Of My Backyard