Saturday, February 11, 2012

Aimless Reading: The R's, Part 16 (Ed Roberson)

City Eclogue
Roberson, Ed
City Eclogue

I wrote a review of this that was published in ecopoetics 6/7. I can't remember if Jonathan Skinner sent me the book as a review copy or if I bought it at Talking Leaves...Books.

I think Taylor Brady first mentioned Ed Roberson's name to me, way back in the mid-nineties, after I'd just arrived in Buffalo. Taylor, polymath, poet, seemed always to have read everything long before anyone else had heard of it.

Years later, I brought Ed to read at Just Buffalo. He read in the old Hibiscus Room, Just Buffalo's performance space in the Tri-Main building. It took its name form the yellow-green tint of Benjamin Moore paint we'd used to cover the walls. Isabelle Pelissier contributed six beautifully painted collage panels depicting hibiscus flowers. They stretched in a straight line across the wall behind the podium. Except for the skanked-out gray carpet, it was a lovely room for readings.

Ed gave a great reading, but I have to say I have never seen someone struggle so hard to overcome his shyness in order to perform. It didn't affect his reading at all, but I could feel him struggling right up until he read his last poem. When he'd finished he said, "Ok, that's it," and collapsed in an exhausted heap on a chair against the wall, letting out a huge, "PHEW," as a set himself down. It was a heroic performance.

from City Eclogue

Stand-In Invocation

One of your clairvoyances who could've
seen her way to speak          stared clearance through.

A New York scoping out instead of eye
contact.          No voice or vision, no called muse–

one of your sightings that would be a dream

if it cared, if it loved you more, kept you
awake asleep and fucked you woke with your eyes
rested in the open beyond what's seen.

No. One more of the feeling un-invoked

spoken out of these days' put you through
proofs before granting speech          testifies
she is not the mouth of anything you wrote

these days                                             ould've


She knows the form, her tongue's just sharp and short of.

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