October 23, 2005
Paul Naylor & Endi Hartigan
Sunday, October 23rd
New American Art Union
922 SE Ankeny Street
$5 suggested donation.
Paul Naylor is the author of two full-length books of poetry, Playing Well with Others (Singing Horse, 2004) and Arranging Nature (Chax, 2005), as well as Poetic Investigations: Singing the Holes in History (Northwestern University, 1999), a critical study of five contemporary poets. Naylor has taught literature and philosophy at Kalamazoo College, University of Memphis, and University of California, San Diego. Formerly the editor of River City: A Journal of Contemporary Culture and co-editor of Facture: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics, he became director of Singing Horse Press in the summer of 2004.
Endi Hartigan's poetry has been published in Caveat Lector, The Antioch Review, Salt (anthology), Northwest Review, Hubbub, and other magazines, and is forthcoming in Insurance. She is editor and co-founder of Spectaculum, an annual journal devoted to poetic works that are best presented at length. She lives in Portland with her husband and son.
from Arranging Nature
Part 2: 1
Condense and collapse, cloud in cloud, an
embryonic sun forms nebula, forms gas accretes
and gathers in turbulent swirling birth.
So composed of starroot, Earth hurtles through
Home sweet home—a cold rock compiled of
iron, silicon, magnesium, aluminum, and oxygen.
What a thought we once had, just before dawn,
the sun a rumor soon to be fact.
Was it a garden we recalled or a night so dark
death would mean reprieve? Was it of a snake
hissing or of one become two, thickening the
The Third Thing (excerpt)
The third thing as the grass,
not the multitude of grasses.
A completion that was singular in nature as a nation is singular
and worse for it.
Someone proclaimed to the stiff eel grass they were right all along
because they were charged with the clearing.
A completion as tentative as clouds which must be announced
and announced toward formation.
A man in the marsh grass unlodging his boat, a man in the marsh grass
leaning and pushing through silt,
a man in the marsh grass starting to skim
through the shallow.
The dream of completion continually dreamed,
continually singular and receding,
Here, I thought, in the act that leaves
the chest gasping, depleted;
Here, in the lifting of feet up and forward through nettles.
The multitude of grasses used to weave a hat
for the old man unmoved by completion.
The multitude of grasses through which
a girl discovers the shivering fields, hopping off stones
beside a white bull. A woman burned herself up in the wind of a hill
in the whipping grasses for reasons unknown
that return, not a source—
And I am receding and moving,
I cannot remain matched to the heavens.
Someone proclaimed we are hearing ourselves in the splash of the field
and only ourselves.
Someone proclaimed I am weaving the hat made of corn silk
and torn flags and rain.
Or, what good is the hat?
Or, what good is the weaving for sake of the weaving?
. . .