Sea Smoke (英語) ペーパーバック – 2004/10/15
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"Louis Jenkins captures--nails down really!--whole moments in time and space, completely decorated with all the essential textual things needed to make them vibrate and shudder with life."--Clarence MajorSeveral of these poems are included in the performance script of NICE FISH, the play.
The 60 new prose poems in Sea Smoke continue Louis Jenkins' imaginative glimpses of scenes from contemporary life. Many of these pieces begin with the ordinary, but a subtle pivot in language propels the reader into an unexpected and oftentimes humorous perspective from which to view the world anew. Herein the blue moon is unhappy as it gazes into car windows, clouds sweep across the horizon as if serving Genghis Khan, and the poet considers the benefits of retirement:
I've been thinking of retiring, of selling the poetry business and enjoying my twilight years. It's a prose poem business, so it's a niche market. Still, after thirty some years, I must have assets worth well in excess of $300. Perhaps the new owner of the business will want to diversify, go into novels or plays, or perhaps merge into a school or movement. It won't matter to me once I've retired. Maybe I'll do a little traveling, winter in the Southwest. Take up golf. Spend more time with the family. Maybe I'll just walk around and look at things with absolutely no compulsion to say anything at all about them.
Louis Jenkins lives in Duluth, Minnesota. His poems have been published in a number of literary magazines and anthologies. His books of poetry include An Almost Human Gesture (Eighties Press and Ally Press, 1987), All Tangled Up With the Living (Nineties Press, 1991), Nice Fish: New & Selected Prose Poems (Holy Cow! Press, 1995), Just Above Water (Holy Cow! Press, 1997), and The Winter Road (Holy Cow! Press, 2000). Some of his prose poems were published in The Best American Poetry 1999 (Scribner) and in Great American Prose Poems (Scribner, 2003).
Louis Jenkins lives in Duluth, Minnesota. His poems have been published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies. Among his books of poetry are An Anlmost Human Gesture, All Tangled Up With the Living, Nice Fish: New and Selected Prose Poems (winner of the Minnesota Book Award) and Just Above Water. He has read his poems on A Prairie Home Companion and was featured poet at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival in 1996. Two of his prose poems were published in The Best Ameriacn Poetry 1999.
Sea Smoke is a fine new collection of his prose poems. Take the poem "Popples." Here in Minnesota, where Louis Jenkins lives, popples, or "poplars," or "aspen," are trees as common as weeds, and we forget to look at them. Jenkins looks and listens, with a little smile: "Popples are excitable, quivering all over at the slightest hint of a breeze, full of stupid chatter, gossip, rumor, and innuendo." And he takes off from there, his impressions getting a little more bizarre: "The proletarian tree, growing, optimistic, got the kids all working, grandkids on the way."
But the comic view might miss the beauty of the popples, and Louis Jenkins doesn't: "Popples are lovely in fall when the leaves turn yellow and gold, or in winter with a new moon caught in the branches, and in spring when the rain enhances the delicate grey-green color of the bark. I wouldn't mind a view like this when I come to the bottom of the slide into old age and senility: a stand of popples judiciously framed by the bedroom window to exclude the junk car and the trash cans just to the right."
If you're curious about why Robert Bly said of Louis Jenkins, "Every generation has eight or ten good poets, and he is one of those in his generation," and why Garrison Keillor keeps bringing him back to read his poems on A Prairie Home Companion, and why one of the foremost literary critics in the U.S., Sven Birkerts, has extolled Sea Smoke and loves, as I do, the "elusive alternation of comedy and pathos" in the poems, read this book.
My only grouse is that his books are not available in England, but thanks to Amazon I get them from the USA site.