The lyric moment has always held the power o narrative and the het o a story. My long-held admiration and love or
, or riends orstumbled-on strangers who can command the energy and attention o a crowd with a detail-spiked story, casts my own limitations as a story-teller into clear relie. The ebb and ow, the conscious climb up Freitag’sTriangle, the deoresting o the brambly tale up ahead—whatever meta-phor works or you, it never worked or me.
Your stories are great!
I’d say,but never while looking in the mirror. I was too sel-conscious, too ego-driven (too ungenerous?) to lose mysel in a story while leading others toa satisying end. This may be why I elt compelled to write lyric poems:I couldn’t soar over the hilly expanse o a good story, so I’d land here orthere, wing-tired, and explore the moment, the detail. I was content toexplore the side streets. A decade ago I began to acknowledge a growing dissatisaction withmy poems. They looked smaller somehow, the ink on the page narrower.I repeated the word
over and over in my head while considering recent poems.
was another phrase that virtually announceditsel as poems seemed to heroically rise rom my page and…then quickly sit down again, winded, their skinny limbs barely up to the task o sup-porting their bodies. My poems began to resemble Giacometti’s fguresas stooped senior citizens, and as the work became physically under-
is the author of
AC/DC’s Highway to Hell
(33 1/3 Series, 2010),
Jerry Lee Lewis:Lost and Found
(National Poetry Series, 2008),
Sweat: TheStory of the Fleshtones, America’s Garage Band
(Continuum, 2007), and numerous personalessays and prose poems. He teaches at Northern Illinois University.
Sketching the Bridge With Invisible Ink