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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Etter

Erin Belieu's Slant Six (Copper Canyon, 2014)

I have fewer passages to quote with this collection because many of these poems' power comes from the way they operate as a whole; nonetheless, of course I found some to give you a flavour of this fresh work:

...I can't recall when anticipation

became the substitute for hope.


I imagine digging a series of small

holes, burying poems in Ziploc

baggies. I imagine them as baby teeth

knocked from the present's mouth.

from 'Ars Poetica for the Future'

Because what's more

American than a full stomach on a sunny morning?

What more than this fat-assed acceleration,

driving with the windows cranked down?

end of 'Someone Asks, What Makes This Poem American?'

...because we 'grant the name of love

to something less than love,'

because we all have to eat.

end of 'Love Is Not an Emergency'

But who isn't more war

than peace?

from 'The Body Is a Big Sagacity'

And hence to lady

work I went. A-sent, ago, long scrubbing at

my bits to strip them extra minty meadow


from 'I Growed No Potatoes to Write About, Sir'

I believe there is a helping of vegetables

in every selfless and measured thought.

I am now able to hold subjects--

like lighthouses--at an objective angle

and admire them for their spooky,

correlative truths.

from '12-Step'

What is a kiss

but the mouth's potential for wreckage?

from 'Love Letter: Final Visitation'

Oh yes,

it all goes up.

Kablooey! Good luck

enjoying those bonfires

with no s'mores!

from 'Après Moi'

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