Thursday, November 29, 2012

A New Collection from Steven Cramer


Clangings
By Steven Cramer
www.stevencramer.com

From Sarabande Books
2234 Dundee Road, Suite 200
Louisville, KY 40205
502.458.4028
info@sarabandebooks.org
Fax: 502.458.4065

About Clangings

Schizophrenia may be characterized by a surfeit of language, a refurbishment of our used up words with musical connections every day speech and sense cannot provide. These riffs are “clangings,” and Steven Cramer imagines them into a poetic narrative that exults in both aural richness and words’ power to evoke an interior landscape whose strangeness is intimate, unsteady, and stirring.

Two poems from Clangings

[Dickey’s death feels all over me.]

Dickey’s death feels all over me.
I try not digging at the thing. He died
before I could grow his hemlock seed.
Boyo, the tricksters of this cemetery,

long-sleeved shorts with their shirts off,
can’t tell a cow’s dead till it’s slaughtered.
He was a sublime Halloween snicker,
bat dark meat. Never watched golf.

Not much now but gum and minerals,
blue pods, tainted entertainments.
Our folder warps, drifts, frags, taunts.
Everest ground down to soil samples.

I’ve lost my sprite, my shot at distemper,
nobody’s rabies can pillow this blow.
Nobody’s but Dickey’s. My “he” is “O,”
who once flicked hearts, a lamplighter.

I could clang wish-bells, break out a dish,
but I know he’s the headache at the base
of my throat. He’s left ice in my voice,
foam round rocks where we used to fish.

###

[First I denied the no-seeums speckling]

First I denied the no-seeums speckling
my dead boy. Over here, they called.
I overheard there. My shoulder thawed,
felt fine. I exhaled my unson’s song.

Then came blame. Used up, I sued it.
Anger management? I nail-gunned
flies all over drywall. My tantrum
plucked a geshrunken dish; threw it, it

pitched back, thew! Pawed hardball,
return me his birthdays. I’ll be prompt,
to Commencement, promise. I’m unkempt?
I’ll kempt. But worms don’t dicker a deal . . .

I resigned my shift; I mean, took a break.
Blanket our dog wouldn’t even adopt,
I laid off apostrophes to the teardrop.
His name sank, forsook all heartache—

no more pantomime palominos.
If you can't stage miracles, curtain.
It’s not like you become Adam, even
whistling to the herd in widow grass.

Reprinted by permission of Sarabande Books. Clangings (2012) by Steven Cramer

To Order Clangings

Order the collection at Sarabande Books, where there’s also a link to an interview with Steven Cramer, a Reader’s Guide, and a list of upcoming readings by Mr. Cramer.

Comments About Clangings
________________________________________

“… one of our favorite poetry books of 2012″ - Memorious

“‘Clangings' are specialized modes of speech schizophrenics and manics use to express themselves, and identify themselves, and communicate, so desperately and wittily and forlornly and with such resourceful energy. That's wonderfully registered here. But one gets to feel, reading it, that these diagnostically defined ways of using language are only extreme cases of how we all use language. Steven Cramer handles and contends with and profits from that extremely difficult, intensely compressed, stanzaic form, over and over, inventive all the way, hilarious a lot of the time, and scared, scary, distanced and objective, and very moving. Clangings is a wild ride.”

—David Ferry, 2012 National Book Award winner for Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations

“Humane from its aching heart to its flummoxed nether regions, whipsmart, formally acute but unfussy, and entertaining as all hell—Steven Cramer's new book shreds our airwaves with an inventiveness that is rare. Rare, as in once-in-a-lifetime-if-you're-lucky rare. It balances perfectly on the knife-edge of improvisation and necessity. Clangings is magnificent.”

—David Rivard, author of five poetry collections including Otherwise/Elsewhere and Sugartown

“Steven Cramer’s Clangings is a poetry not of madness, nor even the merely unspeakable, but instead irresistibly musical musings that reveal a command of language only achievable through fierce intelligence and the most piercing wit. A brilliant revision of the clinical term that describes speech that sacrifices sense to sound, here one finds that sound itself—'Two rhymes snagged between rhymes,/ spun puns, all my blinds up in flames./ The voices in noise are getting wise,' as Cramer writes, indelibly—is indeed sense. Poetry is healing here, the astonishing process itself laid out on these pages in all its utterly humane glory.”

—Rafael Campo, MD Harvard Medical School author of The Desire to Heal: A Doctor’s Education in Empathy, Identity, and Poetry

“Steven Cramer’s Clangings may well be the most disturbing book of verse ever written! Binding the warp of psychotic blurts into a poetic weft is one way to make all of language unbearably strange. But the poems here disturb and illuminate—that’s the magic.”

—Jean McGarry, author of Dream Dateand A Bad and Stupid Girl

To Order Clangings

Order the collection at Sarabande Books, where there’s also a link to an interview with Steven Cramer, a Reader’s Guide, and a list of upcoming readings by Mr. Cramer.

Clangings

A new collection from Steven Cramer (www.stevencramer.com)

From Sarabande Books
2234 Dundee Road, Suite 200
Louisville, KY 40205
502.458.4028
info@sarabandebooks.org
Fax: 502.458.4065

No comments: