Poem of the Week - ‘TXT’ by Nancy Kuhl
Brooklyn-based publishers Ugly Duckling Presse produce some truly stunning books and pamphlets. Their artisan approach to the publishing process stresses the physicality of the book and the importance of great design, well-chosen materials and interesting binding. You can see some fine examples on our website and theirs, but to truly appreciate the care and expertise that goes into these books, they really have to be held and leafed through in person. Getting a new batch of sample copies to the office is always a treat!
And of course, all this time and effort is invested into the cause of some great literature. And UDP stuff is heavyweight stuff: cutting-edge, experimental, challenging aesthetic and intellectual boundaries - I have to admit a lot of it is a little out of my league. And that includes some of the poetry in Nancy Kuhl’s beautiful 2011 pamphlet Little Winter Theater, the source of our Poem of the Week. But, like so many UDP titles, the wonderful use of language and the freshness of the ideas pulled me in, had me reading and re-reading until I felt that I had begun to understand a little more of the author’s chaotic and confusing world.
Anyway, that’s enough rambling from me. Here’s my favourite thus far:
letter by tarnished letter we can’t
say more restless our momentary
messages collecting in phonelight
and the voice braids itself backward
a new silence pushes lexicon
to the brink I satisfy myself with
brevity and broken fingernails
and dusk like a slipknot drawn fades
answers unambiguous I always
and you always and no and no
and no little pleas diminish glow
faintly my petty resolutions cinder
and I crave shudder and chime
crave hands pulling hair
loose from its clip think
if I’d left the door propped open
I know longing begins quietly
to collapse not quite spent nearly
gone now let’s admit it there’s no
telling what we might have done.