Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monkey and Poetry Convergence: Daniel Nester edition

I first stumbled upon Daniel Nester's poetry in the anthology Isn't It Romantic? 100 Love Poems by Younger American Poets (2004 Wave Books). I dug the poem therein, "Third Maisie Poem," and so I sought out more. His "Poem for the Novelist Whom I Forced to Write a Poem" is in The Best American Poetry 2003.

More of his poems are on his Web site where he writes, "Yes, I wrote poems. I may again someday." I hope he does.

He's published one book of poems, The History of My World Tonight (BlazeVox Books 2006), so I sought it out and read it and my verdict is that it is okay. There are some really good poems here, but a lot of them just kind of feel tossed off. Also, I don't know anything about BlazeVox Books, but the book has a very high-school literary journal feel to it from the cover to the typeface to the page size. So that's kind of unfortunate.

In any case, The History of My World Tonight includes two poems that mention primates and these, incidentally, happen to be two of my favorite poems in the book.

"Deodato's Zarathustra" ends: "I saw 2001: / A Space Odyssey when I was three. / I didn't understand a thing. / My father said, You're seeing / the same thing I'm seeing. / My father promised / I'd see monkeys fighting."

In "Arraignment of a Beach Boy" Mike Love is described as resting "comfortably in California, hawking Kokomo burgers / With his orangutan eyes, orange Republican beard, and fake west coast Alan Watts Buddhism." I get the feeling Nester doesn't like Mike Love very much (actually, a lot of people don't).

Nester uses a lot of pop culture references in his poems, something I appreciate very much. There's "Poem for The Evil Twin Episode of Knight Rider" (another one of my favorites. Maybe just because I'm a twin), and "Steve Perry of the Rock Band Journey and Film Crew Tour His Hometown," for instance. In fact, Nester's first two books were "collections of lyrical essay, memoir, prose poem, and music history on [his] life-long obsession with the rock band Queen." I, too, love Queen. And so, more books to check out.


Daniel Nester said...

It's "live," not "love," in a tree. And there is at least one comma missing. I would appreciate the poem typed in correctly, especially if it is to be posted in its entirely.

D'Anne Witkowski said...

Sorry about the live/love mix up. I was drunk. And I couldn't find that comma anywhere. So I just used the ending. Hope that's okay.

Daniel Nester said...

Cool. I wasn't exactly ecstatic about the design myself; in particular the trim size. Whaddyagonnado.