|Enter the 2011
|Runner-up in the 2009 National
Poetry Review Book Prize
City from Nome
by James Grinwis
|"I took the pill that shrinks you down. I gave the book the
treatment that turns a book into a 3-dimensional self-contained universe within a
universe. I climbed in and began to walk around. It took me a while to catch on. I was a
little too busy being awe-struck by what I was finding. I was dazzled and struck blind
every way I turned. The agencies of our imaginations have to be tended. In The City
from Nome were challenged to tune ourselves up into haunted and strange high
"OK, people, I have to be honest with you. James is just too humble. He didn't suddenly "get lucky" by having two manuscripts accepted for publication within six months of each other. No. Instead, the world of poetry has finally caught on to his mad genius. And I don't use that word lightly. I like to compare reading his poems to being dragged into the ocean by your ankles. As if you are tethered to an enormous manta ray that pulls you fathoms down. Yes. You're terrified, but you can't help but notice all the eyeless flowering creatures along the way. You swerve, weightlessly, in between sea volcanoes and yes, you'll burn your cheek or perhaps finger tips, but only because you must hurt, a little, in the face of such beauty."
James Grinwis The City From Nome opens with a man in a state of indecisiona man just sitting there with a chandelier growing out of his head. It might have you wondering. But as you move through this book youll see its all here: a colossus whispers something to a colossus polisher; an ax handler laughs like a tongueless baby; a whole town has tennis elbow. At one point the speaker of a poem falls over a coffee table like an atonal finch, while another confesses he took breaks on the floors of dark closets. All the while an emotional frequency buzzes quietlysuperblyin the basement, which ices this cake nicely.
Michael Earl Craig
|James Grinwis' second collection, Exhibit of Forking
Paths, winner of The National Poetry Series, is forthcoming from Coffee House Press.
He is founder of Bateau Press, and his poems have appeared in America Poetry Review,
Conjunctions, Crazyhorse, Gettysburg Review, New Orleans Review, Third Coast, Verse
Daily, and many others.