Two poems from Pitch Dark Anarchy
Dear Reader (1)
before the cataclysmic end of the world
whittles down to zero, before
grounding out idiot noise pushes
in all motion skin color, before that
which cannot be defined: our terribleness
calibrated on a triple beam scale .or.
call it residue running to the border.
subjective but it is about subjects
(underneath always underneath) &
language. after the betrayal. .or. a thing
of intrigue: an illusion
caught in a soundraft. the recoil
before that final echo dimming the sun
display(ed) for the (dis)placed
more clearly to see at the end of the world.
What Lil Soul Train Did Not Know Is in a Book
all matter boomerangs back—: color
keeps intruding—: perhaps
it’s the misgeographic rerouting
of center—: that place you run away from
up over the sun dancing—:
& object to be & is—: mental
developing change or motor-booty-
shake to the half note:
of what we are: spiritual movement:
at once & everywhere—: hands
reworking constructions of the verb
to be: from one state to another—:
yellow light before the :r:e:d:
a:l:e:r:t—: wait wasn’t optional
is what i told lil’ soul train bent
between the lines broham couldn’t read—:
he might’ve been practicing to sing
all up in there like against: telos
wasn’t no guns just a whistling
tune—: a night cloud: a moon visible.
Praise for Pitch Dark Anarchy
(Northwestern University Press 2013)
Randall Horton takes up the experiment we are, as content as well as form, theory as well as practice, as searching, as research, as tilling and digging, as aeration and irrigation, on the ground and under until there is no ground except for what you hear, an ever ascendant bottom animating every line. Pitch Dark Anarchy; dark animateriality; new-strung, hard-thrown air. We who think we have it have to look for it everywhere because it’s everywhere, right under our noses, all up under our skin, right now in our hands. We, who? You. It’s your thing, if you feel enough to claim it. I mean you. I mean you.
Fred Moten, author of Hughson’s Tavern
How did you come to write “Notes From a Prodigal Son #5”?
Can you tell us something about your process of writing that helped these poems and your new collection Pitch Dark Anarchy come to life?
I would only say that I pay attention to lyrical cadence and the sounding of things. But for me, each poetic process is different. I may favor aesthetic choices but try to remain blank each time I approach a poem. The only thing you need to know is that my poems are part of a larger series of epistles.
Who are your favorite poets or poets new to you whom you'd recommend to others?
I claim Gwendolyn Brooks as a literary mother but love Stephen Jonas, Ed Roberson and Nikky Finney, among so many others. I would say be on the look out for Lamar L. Wilson, Rickey Laurentiis, Phillip Williams, Niki Herd, Ching In Chen, Derrick Harriell and Delana Dameron. All wonderful poets.
What are you working on now?
At this moment, I am finishing a memoir titled Father, Forgive Me.
Randall Horton is an assistant professor of English at the University of New Haven in Connecticut and the author of Pitch Dark Anarchy, a collection of poems just published by Northwestern University Press. Horton is also author of two other collections: The Definition of Place (2006) and The Lingua Franca of Ninth Street (2009). He is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea González Poetry Award, and a National Endowment of the Arts Literature Fellowship. His creative and critical work has appeared in the print journals Callaloo, Sou’wester, Caduceus, and New Haven Review and in the online journal The Offending Adam. Randall is a fellow of Cave Canem and a member of the Affrilachian Poets, two organizations that support African American poetry; and a member of the Symphony: The House That Etheridge Built, a reading collective named for the poet Etheridge Knight. An excerpt from Horton’s memoir, Roxbury, is newly released as a chapbook. His poem “Notes From a Prodigal Son #5” appeared in the anthology After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery from Life-Shattering Events .