Poetry 365

Poet Rebecca Lindenberg

This month for Poetry 365 we’re highlighting Rebecca Lindenberg’s highly anticipated debut Love, An Index.  Praised by National Book Award winner Terrence Hayes for “recovering, reclaiming, and remaking the elegy form,” this one-of-a kind collection serves as Lindenberg’s memorial to her late partner Craig Arnold, an acclaimed poet who disappeared while hiking a Japanese volcano in 2009.  At once plainspoken and uniquely musical, the volume stays fresh with forms both adopted and invented including prose poems, sparse free verse, and the lengthy title poem which appears as an index.  Beautiful, fierce, humbling, and human, this first title in the newly minted McSweeney’s Poetry Series  is simply not to be missed.  So make sure to sample an “index” poem below and don’t forget to stop back next month for Poetry 365.

V

VANISH, dematerialize. Poof! How does one sail
           to the land of vanished things? And what color
           does your flag have to be to get back?
VOLCANOES, we visited many: Vesuvius looming over Naples
           like a history of violence and Pompeii’s ash
           packed around a man-shaped hollow. The perfect cone
           of Stromboli. Cloud-forests sweating around Poas,
           its caldera cupping an aquamarine lake of boiling acid.
           Thira’s thin crescent rising from the sea. A Mexican church
           half-submerged in basalt. A cobbled path of fractured granite
           descending into the North Atlantic. I thought I understood
           your longing — it looked so much like mine.
VOLKSWAGON,
      Golf (green), from Salt Lake City to Omaha in a day.
           You were so angry because I’d stayed up late
           the night before and couldn’t drive the first shift.
           Later that summer, Duluth, Sault Sainte Marie,
           Montreal, Marblehead. Harry Potter on tape,
           your son asleep in the back with his feet on my lap
           and his head resting on your guitar.
      Golf (red), I could see you coming from so far
           down the snowed-in road. Me at the bus station
           freezing my ass off. You cranked the heat,
           plucked off my wool cap, put your mouth over my ear.
VOW, I think as much now about the ones we failed to make
           as the ones we faithfully kept.

Russell J. (Readers’ Services)

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