Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tavern Recommends....Keith Ekiss

Tavern Books author Keith Ekiss has many poetry irons in the fire. His first full-length collection, Pima Road Notebook (New Issues, 2010), is a knockout. Lurking beneath the surface of his pared-down realism is a wild, expansive, human landscape that shifts effortlessly between the internal and external, the public and private, the mystical and the quotidian. Though rooted in place, geography is not an arriving point; rather, Ekiss's Arizona is a staging area and launch pad for the author to explore the multifaceted conundrum of 20th century American life. 

Pima Road Notebook (II)

Always the abandoned mattress springs in the arroyo.
And sunlight dusting tattered afternoon curtains.
Down street, the boy who stuttered but could sing.
No one she could talk to like she wanted to talk.
I should’ve been her lovely girl.
My father said he made something from nothing, like sons.
Brothers were other animals.
Javalina bristled for water outside my sleep.
Coyotes gathered and chattered in guttural moans.
All night she thought the howls were only dogs.
My body’s better use, casting a shadow for a quail.
I watched the tame hawk return to its hooded wrist.
She dropped me off for school at Cherokee Elementary.
Heat pulsing in my temple and sweat.
I found a nest of rabbits hidden in the cholla.
The young are born helpless, naked, and blind.

But it gets better! In late 2012 we will be publishing Keith Ekiss's co-translation of Eunice Odio's The Fire's Journey (Volume 1), the first of four volumes we'll be publishing in the near future. It's an understatement to say that Odio's epic poem is amazing--it's absolutely a work of genius, oddity, lyrical invention, and unparalleled myth-making. This may be an apples-and-oranges comparison, but Odio's epic gave us the same shivers that Inger Christensen's Alphabet and It have been giving us over these past few years. Vicente Huidobro's Altazor also comes to mind. We can't express just how excited we are to be bringing you Odio's work, and in such a fine translation. Stay tuned...and get ready!