The Real-Time Review League reads nods by Carrie Lorig

by Carrie Lorig
Magic Helicopter Press, 2013
48 pages / $7  Buy from Magic Helicopter Press




July 25, 2013


I read through the first half of nods., like we said. I’m happy to be doing it in two pieces, as the book leaves me a lot to process.

For me, what comes first here are impressions. Looking into the dark and seeing shapes, but waiting for your eyes to adjust before you can make out bodies and what they are doing.

I read the first “Scatterstate” and thought, if I had to define this term, it would be:

scatterstate: noun, immersion in repetition and variation of words; a swelling up of words, which become, in addition to their actual definitions, their sounds and the feeling of hearing/thinking them over and over; an inundation

When it is too much to think about, I am left with hearing and feeling and drawing conclusions from those sensations. And because of THE PAGE and her use of space on THE PAGE, sometimes it is too much. I think she knows this. Because it’s not like eating too much ice cream; it’s like tumbling down too much mountain, or hiding under too many houses. It surprises and excites me, too, when out of this inundation, narrative is born, which happens here.

So much here depends on unlikely pairings of words—sometimes as separate, paired words, and sometimes as compounded words. A few of my favorite compounds from p17: “mangovault,” “niagarafalafel,” “boozyoveralls,” “meatbowl.”  This chapbook asks us to wonder, what happens when you push two, separate, unlike things together?  How do we make sense of that? And in that way, it is a painstaking immersion in the messy business of sex and love. Preparing to leave for a long vacation without Phil tomorrow. I want to go and I don’t want to go. It feels, sometimes, like we are always orbiting the same thing, but at different rates. I’m being dramatic—everything is fine, of course, we’re very happy. But love is never easy or clean.

Last night we ate waffles filled with curried chicken from a food truck. It makes me wonder, if waffles can be a vehicle, what else can?

Last week, I sent Tyler Gobble a link to your work and he said it reminded him of Carrie’s. I hadn’t read much of Carrie’s work, but reading it now, I see what he means. I am so seriouseager to hear what you think.



July 30, 2013

Dear Caro,

I hope you are having such a wonderful trip with your sister and nephew! Minneapolis has been incredible. We have seen so many friends, and late twenties looks good on everyone. Watching them relax into themselves is making me feel more relaxed too. I now have the urge to kick anxiety once and for all. Getting an MFA in our early twenties was MISLEADING to say the least. The moment I calmed down, I noticed a LOT of people DON’T have an anxiety disorder. I don’t want one either. It is taking up my time. I’ll keep my phobias though. My life is sort of built around avoiding fish and vomit. (Walking around Lake Nokomis, I SAW A DEAD FISH THE SIZE OF MY THIGH).

Anyway, calm is what I want to work out with nods. I read myself into a frenzy, and the frenzy was, I DON’T HAVE A PLAN TO SEE CARRIE YET. One thing I forget about Carrie, and about Nick too, is that they are CALM. I called her, and even her “hello” was grounded. I’m not sure her phone recognized my number. I wonder if folks can read my anxiety-energy from my hello??. It usually either means are you a schemer?? or are you mad at me??. What I’m learning on this trip is that I don’t think people are mad at me. And what I’m trying to say here, is that Carrie is a keel. Before I called her, I chattered my way around the first “scatterstate,” loving it, getting RATTLED by “noiseflowers.” Getting hurt by “i’ll let you know if i hear anything more from you.” I underlined and circled words, sentences… There is an energy here, and there is an energy in Carrie’s calm. I get excitable talking to her, and I don’t get anxious. We made plans to see each other.

When I hung up and hit page two, I wasn’t in racket anymore, I was in flow.  If a word or line rattled me, it didn’t jut out anymore, just twinkled around a rock in the river. “And my sunburnt eyes are touching each other with this beautiful delivery of flow hurt…” There is anxiety too: “you have to find a feeling / and hurt its tiny dead / glow with your hurt”. But instead of the anxiety being some illness in Carrie, it is one that she creates and controls. There is energy spinning in her—and it might be just hers, or she might be open enough to deal with my own.

On the phone she and I talked about sharing the sex we write in poems with our parents. I love your thought about the forced merging of concepts (FUELBOOGER) as being like sex and love. I need more people to talk about sex that way. I need more people to talk about sex in every way other than bikini waxes and butt jokes and have you tried….. And so yes, the lights are low in this book, and my eyes never become natural. This groping for vision and relying on sound become mebumbling with someone else’s body in the dark, trying to figure out how it works. I’m thinking about theories of touch and sound. She is building those two experiences without IMAGE. I’m not listening for the pain cattle, I just hear everything. How is this happening?? (NOT a rhetorical question!)

Have your parents read poems you’ve written about sex? (OR WORSE YOUR IN-LAWS?) Wait, do you have poems about sex? Is that what “and spark / and spark” means? (I don’t have your book in front of me—did I quote that right?)

Today is Carrie’s birthday! I’m off to practice my poem for the reading tonight (she is hosting), and to buy her flowers that look like an animal (Nick’s idea).

Love to you guys!


P.S. I’m reading with Abraham Smith, and I’m terrified. Not colonoscopy terrified, but on the spectrum.

P.P.S. I want to meet Tyler.


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June 13th, 2014 / 10:00 am