Found used books at Moe’s Books on Telegraph Avenue yesterday evening:
- Jimmy Santiago Baca, Black Mesa Poems. New Directions Publishing, 1989.
- Sesshu Foster, City Terrace Field Manual. Kaya Press, 1996. (Excerpts can be found at the Modern American Poetry website here.)
- Haunani-Kay Trask, Light in the Crevice Never Seen. Calyx Books, 1994.
These, along with Andrés Montoya’s the iceworker sings and other poems, are my weekend reading. I started Foster’s book last night as well, and it’s interesting to be reading Foster and Montoya concurrently, as their concepts of City are similar, and challenging my concept of City. Whereas even in the margins of SF, there still is to me this sense of city limits like a corral or pen, Foster and Montoya have sprawl, and certainly, City in Central Valley and Southern California sprawl in terms of geographical space and folk making and/or finding community and work.
Let my discussion on sprawl here not be interpreted as “the opposite of dense”; both poets’ bodies of work are dense with concrete details and sharp objects, blood, bullets, drugs/booze, and with poetic speakers who are both in the thick of it and then stepping back ever so slightly to bear witness, to think about perspective. Surprising, scary, violent shit happens in City; you wonder how to prepare for it, whether you really can.
OK. More later.