Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Daniel Bouchard: Sound Swarms & Other Poems

I feel a bit like a condemned man at the moment; at the end of the week, we're leaving town for a full seven weeks. It's not that I don't like to travel, it's just that I don't like to leave home. I can bitch a blue streak about south Florida's cultural wasteland, unbearable heat, horrible traffic, oafish inhabitants, etc. – but when it comes right down to it I'm awfully reluctant to leave my books & CDs & musical instruments behind for more than a few days. Home is where your stuff is. We'll be in New York for pretty much all of July (any New Yorkers want to hook up, I've got time on my hands...), during which time I'll manage to plan my fall courses & finish the last of the dithery paperwork associated with this promotion business. And write a few things I've promised to various editors. (I've pretty much given up the plan for knocking out a 6-week brief book on "Biography: Theory and Practice" over the summer.)
Sound Swarms & Other Poems, Daniel Bouchard (Slack Buddha Press/La Perruque Editions, 2004)


What sticks in my mind from the poems in this chapbook of Daniel Bouchard's is a kind of wonderful serene thoughtfulness that places in lyric suspension the minute particulars of nature – some very keenly observed birds here, & a good deal of weather – & the human environment of roads, houses, & familial relationships. The last 3 poems – "Some Mountains Removed," "Sound Swarms," & "The Fancy Memory" (walk-ons by William Blake – "get your damn feet off the sofa" – FDR, & Abraham Lincoln) propose, in a quietly surrealist idiom, an entire theory of the relations between vision (poetic, political) & power. "I asked Lincoln how he felt about being called 'Captain.'"

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