Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Graham Foust’s Necessary Stranger

After Aretha Franklin

Baby, I know

but not much,

We are two
breathing people in
a room.

The rest, the rest

is as emphatic,
scratched out.

The meaning of a cruelty
is its hurry,
its use.

In Graham Foust’s third trade collection of poetry, Necessary Stranger (Chicago Il: Flood Editions, 2007), he works poems without endings, poems that end before they end. Where do they go? What intrigues about Foust’s poems is the way his transient leaps and transcendent shifts, his breaks in where meaning lies, turning meaning into a series of fragments, turning meaning into something far larger and far smaller both, in such a compact space. Why do so many small poems with short phrases, line breaks and more, domestic poems on the small built out of ordinary language yet doing larger and larger things still get compared to Robert Creeley? This simple collections of poems by Faust works a series of narrative and logical jumps as much as twists, taking expectation through the mind and through the subsequent wringer.

Why I Am Not A Painter

The most difficult beautiful

thing I think
to paint would be

a close-up, a close-up

of a single square
of toilet tissue


in a bowl.
Or so I’m told.

No matter. My bad.

There is no genuine thinking
without a sense

of indignity.

This heart of earth of mine
can only hear

is only yours.

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