2016 Poetry Campaign: It Becomes You by Dobby Gibson

it becomes youThis was a re-read for me. I first read Dobby Gibson’s It Becomes You about two years ago, and I loved it so much that I immediately bought his other collections (both of which I also enjoyed very much!). He is a brilliant writer, and to top it off, he’s local! It was fun to read poetry about Minneapolis.

How to describe his work? While I read, I had comparisons bouncing around in my brain. Dobby Gibson writes with the tremendous peeling-open-of-ideas and thoughtful phrases of Billy Collins, with the great breadth of vocabulary of Annie Dillard but much more accessible. There are phrases that will make you pause in awe, and every poem will leave you feeling thoughtful, somehow weightless and heavy at once.


Highly recommend: also, his other books Skirmish and Polar are fantastic reads too!

Join me next month for my 2016 Poetry Campaign. We’ll be reading Brooklyn Copeland’s Siphon, Harbor. Click here to see the schedule for the rest of the year!


Poetry 2015 Review: Black Aperture by Matt Rasmussen

black apertureMy gosh. This collection bowled me over.

In the first of three sections, Matt Rasmussen starts with treasures such as “No island is an island, / he said. There is no new land, / just the same body broken open.”

And “The lamp asks, / is it the shadow writing this, / the pen, or their converging? / The paper asks nothing.”

And “Then, as had always happened, / the clay pigeon flew away / and shattered in mid-air, / and I wrote this, / and this.”

Then the second section happened, and I was too engrossed and enamored to take notes anymore. I devoured the rest of the book.

This book is the winner of the Walt Whitman Award and very deserving. There is a central theme to the poems as Rasmussen explores his brother’s suicide, and so the collection is dark, significant, but somehow not heavy.

I loved it. What did you think? madness vase

Are you reading along with my 2015 Poetry Campaign? Next up is The Madness Vase by Andrea Gibson, a poet I’m mostly unfamiliar with. I hope you’ll track down her book and read it in May too!

9 years later

… I finally finished the poem that I starting writing right around college graduation in May 2003.  I hope it makes sense to you.  Some people have gotten confused by it.  Hint: there are 3 characters in it, not 2.


When the sky burst like a balloon, the rain soaked the hikers
for ten wild minutes that shivered like forever.
It was like a gift, he said, or like a holy baptism.
Or it was like a scene in a story you would write.
And when the call was dropped, she phoned to tell me,
who pictured this boy or that on a cell phone in the mountains,
smelling clean like Appalachian rain and wanting me to know.

Billy Collins poems animated!

Billy Collins is my favorite poet (and I was lucky enough/blessed enough to meet him in the fall of 2010!).  He is absolutely hilarious and a brilliant writer, both of which I would love to be.

Carve out fifteen minutes of your day to click this link here and view his TED talk and see five of his poems masterfully animated.  I promise you it will be worthwhile.