Arts desk: Schlegel's wintry words

Posted by Erika Fredrickson on Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Rob Schlegel used to run the New Lakes poetry and performance series in Missoula—a very cool event hosted out of his home with his wife, fellow writer Kisha Lewellyn Schlegel. He got his master's in creative writing at UM in 2004, and he won the Colorado Prize for Poetry last year.

Recently he put out a book of poems called The Lesser Fields, which showed up on the arts desk. The back page blurb by James Longenbach begins, "Rob Schlegel has a mind of winter." And reading through the poems, that seems about right—it's stark and austere writing.

One of my favorite things about his work: the titles. Sometimes they're so long, they're almost a poem unto themselves. Here are two:

I Pack Her Suitcase with Sticks, Light the Tinder, and Shut the Lid

She used to sit on the forest-floor
and I would cut her hair until it piled up
onto the ground, like ash.

Tonight, her name is a leaf covering
my left eye. The right I close
for the wind to stitch shut with thread

from the dress she wore into the grave
where the determined roots of the tree
are making a braid around her body.

________________________________________

A Boy Is Kicking the Stomach of a Dog

Whose teeth remain private

Whose fate grows heavy this hour
In the morning's frail logic
_________________________________________

Check out the book on Amazon and info on the poet here.

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