Across the Page: February 2010


Slaves to Do These Things by Amy King (BlazeVOX)

Queer poet Amy King is the author of six collections of poetry and was the 2007 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere. Her book Slaves to Do These Things is a fascinating and highly thought-provoking collection of poems.

Slaves to Do These Things is structured like a five-act play and many of the poems explore the implications of the word, idea or concept of “slavery” in its many forms and restrictions.

In “The Memory of Skin,” King examines intimacy from a distinct perspective by taking apart its source:

I am opposite marriage.

My dinner cake is made

guerilla style. Getting in

their faces sly,

shotgun raw, we spoke.

You held me well until

you closed with

the intellectual integrity

of a fucked-up life. To give

in to the grace

of a sudden condition,

that is the primacy of thought.

The powerful “Miracle on the Hudson” another example of King’s lyrical voice and ability to be both playful and evocative in the same moment:

One side strikes

the other: language cheapens?

We speak where all symbols

want power

such as a door which opens,

takes persimmons to its lover,

the other side, to no knock.

We can’t remind the lover

to love any more

than we can love ourselves

without the lover,

borne by the landing of light.

King teaches English and Creative Writing at SUNY Nassau Community College and curates the Brooklyn based reading series, The Stain of Poetry, with Ana Bozičević.

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