A book of poems. Let me be the first to say that poetry is pretty much out of my wheelhouse at this point in my life. To be honest, I feel vastly unqualified to review a poetry collection, but hey, here we are. The accompanying press release is a mouthful: “Wilson’s poems present critical and aesthetic biography of Nikola Tesla, juxtaposed with new transcendentalist readings of the natural environment, a lyrical connection between experimental electricity and the sap of American trees.” Wow. Okay. Yep, I’m most certainly out of my league here.
Wilson’s collection seems split aesthetically between material using Tesla and others from his era (Topsy the Elephant, Samuel Clemens, et cetera.) as a kind of allegorical vehicle, and then ones more internalized, personal, focused on nature, the natural world. In lieu of my espousing anymore about it, I’ll close out with two of the shorter poems and you can draw your own conclusion.
You tell me to chew a birch twig and it tastes like wintergreen and/I’m shocked by the numbing : that wooden thing in my mouth - /Even in December I can tell that you are hot under your clothes/that you have the itch to get naked : I won’t stop you there is an/empty spot on the desk : fold them there : Sheets are hissing :
Another: AMERICAN CHESTNUT:
Children are taking poles from sheds
Spreading sheets under trees
Are shaking loose ‘til sore
Their limbs glass with sweat
–Keith Rosson (Stalking Horse Press, 4305 Vuelta Colorada, Santa Fe, NM 87507, stalkinghorsepress.com)