Lugging Vegetables

Looking over the posts at the Neglectorino Project, it's amazing how often "neglected" equals "out of print." Also how out-of-the-loop I am: Paul Blackburn is out of print? Early Bernadette Mayer is out of print? Obviously, it makes sense that to be OOP is to be neglected, perhaps in the worst way, but I'd been thinking of the project more along the lines of "this poet I love who nowhere near enough people seem to have heard of." The two go hand-in-hand sometimes (and often at Neglectorino), but not with Blackburn and Mayer. Relatedly, if you aren't familiar with it, The Contemporary American Poetry Archive curated by Wendy Battin is one online archive of OOP poetry books. I heard about it years ago, and it looks like it hasn't been updated since 2003--but it contains the full text of over 60 books and is well worth a look.

Interesting also to see at least three Yale Younger books mentioned at Neglectorino. I'd add Peter Klappert's OOP 1971 win, Lugging Vegetables to Nantucket, which contains a line about Sarasota, FL that I first read and said to myself many times when I lived there in heat so thick you could fuck it. Klappert's selected, Chokecherries, was published in 2000, but doesn't include enough poems from Lugging to get a good feel for that book. Here are two poems from LVtN, the subtly sinister, occasionally anthologized "Ellie Mae Leaves in a Hurry" and "Mail At Your New Address." I love Klappert's line breaks in "Mail."

Ellie Mae Leaves in a Hurry
--Peter Klappert

There's some who say she put death up her dress
and some who say they saw her pour it down.
It's not the sort of thing you want to press

so we just assumed she planned on leaving town
and gave her money for the first express.
She had some family up in Puget Sound.

Well we are married men. We've got interests.
You can't take children out like cats to drown.
It's not the sort of thing you want to press.

We didn't know she'd go and pour death down,
though most of us had heard of her distress.
We just assumed she planned on leaving town.

There's some of us who put death up her dress
but she had family up in Puget Sound,
we gave her money for the first express.

Well we are married men. We've got interests.
Though most of us had heard of her distress.
You can't take children out like cats to drown,
it's just the sort of news that gets around.

Mail At Your New Address
--Peter Klappert

Did your car get you to Florida?
I know you don't like me
to say so but Mrs. Denton says
the same thing. Please tell me
(collect) if you are all
there. I hope you do not
sleep or do anything on the road.
In Georgia. Your father
should see all the leaves.
Walter has not raked
a girlfriend up the street and wont
rake anymore. Watch out or
theyll have the same thing Mrs. Denton
says the friend stayed and look
what happened at Cornell?
Even if you changed
college is no reason to come home.
But get a haircut. I know
the dean doesn't like you
to look like a gardener.

There have been so many deaths
due to carbon m. poisoning
that this is just
a note to suggest you leave
a little air come into your room. Also,

I hope you don't get involved
with young men or older
or made from popies (?) and Hippy's.
I hope you are not letting the drugs
get you. And don't get mixed up
with drugs. It might spoil your change
for getting the cert. you are working for.
Remember, it is costing quite a lot.

Don't scold. I am afraid of your
trips to and near Chicago.

1 comment:

Liv Wafler said...

Here's a link to a video version of "Ellie Mae Leaves in a Hurry": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3Prd5jvLe4

A little inappropriate maybe, but very entertaining!