I Thought I was New Here by Gregory Lawless
|I Thought I was New Here||Gregory Lawless||BlazeVOX [books]|
Like Wallace Stevens' man on the dump, the speaker of this haunting debut collection conducts a lyrical salvage operation amid the wastelands of modernity. Sorting through the burnt-out houses and shattered limousines of his insomniac imagination, Gregory Lawless unearths the dreamlike beauty of ruin: “I saw a larch tree growing through the torn cockpit of a Mig.” From his beloved hardscrabble Scranton to the Gothic junkyards of the former Soviet Union to “the homesick constellations: / The Northern Tire Iron, / The Quilt of Marbles, / The Glitter-Sling,” I Thought I was New Here makes it new all over again. This poet understands that desolation has its own music. Listen carefully to his voice, and you will hear “what the deaf hear / when they say / their own names.”
Approach Gregory Lawless with caution: he is adept with the begonia-laser, the swan-press, and the soul fax. He's building a man in his basement. Lawless is a night poacher and a poet of deft wit and delicious surprises. He wields novel metaphors to create poems of piercing spiritual intensity. Some seem to be visions of a future: which is now, where we pass in rags and wonder under Lawless' gorgeous lines. If you hear his tear-machine growling, it's too late, succumb and yield, give yourself over to the ecstatic joys of I Thought I Was New Here. If you live, you'll read this book again and again.
—Peter Jay Shippy
Gregory Lawless is a visionary of fallen satelites, making revelations of scrap and stray: exiles, astronauts, scarecrows, a gnome, a daughter who will not speak, a pet gryphon and pet rock that "gets dizzy on the plains." Formally varying from tight whirlpooling musics to looser prose constructions, the strange incanations of these splendid poems, "in my last life I came back as a mountain", convey a yearning for the possibility of the mythic in the everyday countered by a wry humor and intelligence that has its doubts. Maybe the sleet in depressed steel towns that falls in "I Thought I was New Here" should be proof and consolation enough. And of these visions that provide such a plentitude of amazement--I think this poet agrees with Rimbaud--at least we've had them.
Gregory Lawless is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Apple Valley Review, "Best of the Net 2007," Blood Orange Review, Contrary, The Cortland Review, Drunken Boat, Front Porch Journal, Gander Press Review, H_NGM_N, La Petite Zine, Memorious, nth position, Sonora Review, Stride, and 2River. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.
· Paperback: 67 pages
· Binding: Perfect-Bound
· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books]
· ISBN: 9781935402138