The Fact of the Matter: Poems
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Moving from the mundane to the profound, first through observation of fact and matter, then shifting perspective, engaging a deeper sense of self, these poems re-imagine things great and small, making us care deeply about the world around us. In this cultivated and intricately crafted collection, Sally Keith shows the self as a crucible of force—that which compels us to exert ourselves upon the world, and meanwhile renders us vulnerable to it. Force by which a line unfurls—as in Robert Smithson’s colossal Spiral Jetty—or leads with forward motion—a train hurdling along the west-reaching railroad; Edweard Muybridge’s photographic reels charting animal and human locomotion. With poems remarkable in their clarity, captivating in their matter-of-factness, Keith examines the impossible and inevitable privacy of being a person in the world, meanwhile negotiating an inexorable pull toward the places we call home—one we alternately try and fail to resist.
Sanders and Tasha Marvin Robert E. and Vivian McDonald The McKnight Foundation Mid-Continent Engineering The Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Christine and John L. Morrison Kelly Morrison and John Willoughby The National Endowment for the Arts Ann and Doug Ness Jörg and Angie Pierach The RBC Foundation USA Deborah Reynolds Cheryl Ryland Schele and Philip Smith The
against the sky, * whereas on the grass they fall without precision. There is a shepherd with bare feet. There is a man with an embroidered shirt who carries a flute. * The two are conversing. The one with the flute looks in at the conversation. The one pouring water looks into the well, bored and unrelenting. * 5 Think of Achilles. Achilles does not want to bury his friend because he loves him. In the room, that one will wrong the other is the inevitable situation. * But Achilles will not
“Force, says Simone Weil, turns humans to things; but beauty is also a force, and both forms are here turned from their inexorable forward movement toward the making of the artist, who transforms their energy into pictures and sounds so crystalline and still we can apprehend the place motion itself begins.” —ELENI SIKELIANOS POETRY $16 KEITH Praise for THE FACT OF THE MATTER THE FACT OF THE MATTER SALLY KEITH POEMS FOR EXAMPLE The pale undersides of sycamore leaves, knocking at seed pods
error. Everybody knew. Still we passed the time with wondering into how many shapes a body could go. 40 XV. “Don’t touch them. They are dirty!” is the sound of a sister repeating what she remembers from her mother to the younger one whom now she feels privileged to watch over, who now stoops down to reach for the feather beside the smaller pebbles, pieces of seaweed, and driftwood scraps where once the water had been. Soon the sound of the waves overwhelms them. I turn toward the hills. The
to cross is called the Taft, Northwest, Washington, DC. To get shellac, to coat the coils sketched on the record, for the gramophone, first you had to find the bug: you punctured the bug to get the dye. Shellac as slang, is to beat or thrash. The work was unusually dangerous requiring the men to tamp black powder into the holes, shallow in the rock face, find a light for the fuse despite the strong wind. “Celestials” they called the Cantonese because of the other world in which they believed.