[Editor's Note: This review-as-conversation follows Joe Hall's interview with Birds, LLC]
Each poem in Chris Tonelli’s first book The Trees Around gives me the impression of a brain thinking hard. It is sitting there, inert and silent; it is also about to explode from internal tension, so concerned this brain is with thought itself, contained nothingnesses, outer surfaces vs internal realities, sign and signified, circularities and…circles:
had been the center of a small universe,
the attention anchored in each of us.
Now it stands like a messenger
arrived to find no recipient. Severe,
like the still unbudding trees–its solid
pedestal, the circular cement dish filled
with solid water, nerve-rackingly still.
How Trees plays out these tensions varies over its four sections. And so I think readers of this collection will be split in their allegiances between the Gravitron section (poems written from the perspective of a carnival ride!) and the rest due to their sheer difference. READ MORE >
October 14th, 2010 / 1:28 pm
The last issue (?) of The Raleigh Quarterly curated by Chris Tonelli and Chris Salerno has been updated today. RQ has has featured some great poets in their short tenure like Mark Yakich, Matt Henriksen, Emily Kendal Frey, Mathias Svalina, Sarah Bartlett, Joe Massey, Tony Tost, Kate Greenstreet, & Laura Sims, who authored the poem below.
January 11th, 2010 / 4:03 pm
Christopher Salerno reviews Chris Tonelli at the Tarpaulin Sky blog. Click through to read the whole review.
Chris Tonelli’s chapbook, No Theater, the first from Brave Men Press, feels like a flagship collection. Tonelli’s poems are highly Apollonian. As a whole they are sculptural, relying largely on their form, moderation, measure, and order. These poems are leaden, unmovable yet spare: “You wear your mask to bed, / so you never have to be asleep. / I’ll wear mine / while I’m awake, / so I never have to / be awake.”
Darcie Dennigan reviews G.C. Waldrep at the Rumpus. Same click deal as before.
On the front flap of this book of prose poems structured after a 19th century musical primer, G.C. Waldrep prompts us, “What does it mean to listen to poems the way poems listen to paintings?” While I have sincere doubts that even Waldrep knows exactly what this means, the directive is liberating. No matter how intimidatingly intellectual these poems might look to the casual browser, the poet himself is basically saying, “Hey, no critical analysis required.” And so, over the last six months, I’ve made Archicembalo into background noise—I am reporting on it not as a reader but as a listener.
October 28th, 2009 / 5:19 pm