Saturday 12 December 2020

Matthew Carey Salyer : part one

Matthew Carey Salyer is an Associate Professor at West Point. He is the author of a chapbook, Lambkin, and a collection, Ravage & Snare. His work appears in Narrative, Plume, The Common, Massachusetts Review, Florida Review, Hunger Mountain, Beloit Poetry Journal and numerous other journals. He has been a Pushcart nominee, a two-time finalist for the Iowa Review Prize, and a semifinalist for the Brittingham and Felix Pollak Prizes in Poetry. 

Photo credit: Fadi Kheir

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

After Derek Mahon’s death, I discovered The Hudson Letter which has the sort of homeward, homeless paradox that marks a long acquaintance with New York. I am interested in those poems of his that run the page like long, tipped-over rectangles filled with thought and sensation. “Chinatown,” for example. I had not thought I’d be drawn to his work, but I am most often surprised by what I’ve overlooked. The same’s the case with Ted Hughes, who I’ve been reencountering. There’s something I’d want to do in a poem like “Dully Gumption’s Addendum” where he turns his hawk’s eye to the civil landscape. To be honest, I tend to read poetry books like first blows in a contention with certain turns of phrase or form, fresh tics of personae or situations. I enjoyed Regan Good’s The Needle, which reads like a cave painting drawn with a very fine bone, and that brought me back to Berryman. Umit Singh Dhuga – a wonderful poet himself – sent me Don Patterson’s incredible Nil Nil and that’s brought me to a certain kind of Michael Donaghy poem. I tend to read individual poems or clusters of poems more than books. I’ve been reading a lot of Welsh and Australian poets recently. I’m not sure how that came about. Perhaps it was David Jones. I’m reading “The Hunt” and The Sleeping Lord. There’s also a poet I keep hunting named Madge Herron. She never had a book, but I know how I came about to reading her: “where the burnt-out heel of the sky cocks a hind leg at God there He keeps me.” Have you ever heard a line like that? 

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