Aimee Nezhukumatathil's collection, Miracle Fruit (recommended by Eliel Lucero) is definitely a collection I'll be pulling a bunch of props from. Imagine Tony Hoagland's straight-forward narratives and easily accessible, often humorous images, without the clunky middle-aged-white-guy-trying-so-hard-to-be-inoffensive-that-he-sometimes-becomes-offensive angle.
I'm going to have to read this collection a few more times, not because I don't understand it but because I want to be as familiar with these poems as I am with early Mark Doty poetry.
I especially enjoyed Nezhukumatathil's poetry about her relationship with her parents, how she expresses her relationships without either praising or victimizing anyone. As if family history could be described with anecdotes that were funny without shame or schmaltz.
The poem, "Swear Words", in particular, reminded me of a conversation with my mother that resulted in the poem below.
Coming Out To Biff Tannen
My mother's face was so
relieved when i told her it wasn't
cigarettes i was smoking but
cock The stupid boy who didn't even
look up when from the playstation
when they sort of met
My mother whose own hair
fogged with tobacco from her own
new man Made some playboy style
joke about smoking and flaming Something
that would have been twelve
pages after the centerfold Only the true
bathroom aficionados would know to
laugh at it I did not
Well she said that went
over like a pregnant pole vaulter My mother
once told me not to break
up with my girlfriend because a bird in the hand is
worth two in the bath
My mother who would argue
the trivialities of my backtalk by
announcing It's six of one and half of
another pushed into proper
idioms as though all it ever took for her to be
witty was a gay son or
an honest son
An ongoing conversation between writers and the text that they're reading.