JW Williams' After Economy (Shearsman, 2017), first selection
I liked Williams' first collection, Condition of Fire, and published two selections of passages on my old Blogspot blog. Indeed, she launched her first book alongside my second, Divining for Starters, at Swedenborg Hall in London, as we were both bringing out books with Shearsman. I missed her second book (bought but I don't think read--I'll go scouring my shelves shortly) and picked up her third, After Economy, at the splendid Free Verse Poetry Book Fair this past September. I'm surprised at its combination of rawness, energy, originality, and momentum. Here are some favourite passages:
But as you say this poem
is a poem we are all writing...
from 'Iskele Super Tamam'
There is a threat coming from other people, but really it is because
there is a star inside you sucking everything toward it.
Vastness is not darkness, it is a the light within the star.
Mother used to make us pray and it took me longest to see
my brother's head rolling off into the distance, singing.
You're not special because I chose you, you're special because you're human.
Nothing you do ever again in this body will be forgotten.
from 'The Immaculate Conception'
!my head ate! the bread!
!the oven ate! the dough!
!the dough ate! the flour!
!the flour ate! the milk!
!the milk ate! the egg!
!the egg ate! the sugar!
!the sugar ate! the salt!
!the salt stung! the wound!
!red! red! red!
!I'm dead! you said!
!did you mean! hell!
!or possibly! truth!
the second half of 'Bread Song'
I bore very slowly
my head toward the moon's light,
because my white petals
desired some touch beyond word.
opening stanza of 'Selenotropism'
life is the opening
through which we taste
last stanza of 'Basin'
slept not far from a creek
last night couldn't hear a heart beat
for the water you
forgot beneath the noise
your aspirations the cobalt
of his eyes the racing water
last stanza of 'arroyo where last you'
Running, always running
as if to escape
the bronze eagle's raised
fist of claw,
the trout's belly blushing
at death's approach.
opening of 'House of Rivers'