“They’re talking about real stuff, and sometimes it’s funny and sometimes you’re not sure you should be laughing, and poetry also so often lives in that same kind of in-between, uncomfortable space.”
Everything not nailed down is dancing midair
“And yet, even as the language of naming is commonplace, our stories are both singular and universal.”
Most poems since 1776 include the lines “it was snowing and it was going to snow,” although only Wallace Stevens in 1917 got it exactly right.
For November we feature Eva Heisler’s “Lover’s Manual,” which appears in Poetry Northwest Fall-Winter 2007-08 v2.n2. The poem is part of a longer series of prose poems entitled “Reading Emily Dickinson in Icelandic.” According to Heisler, “‘Lover’s Manual’ originated as journal entries written during the first three years of a nine-year period in Iceland. This was a period in which the romance and astonishments of a foreign land were challenged by the difficulties of earning a living as a foreigner. I was constantly faced with just how deeply language shapes perception and, as I struggled to learn Icelandic, the blind spots proliferated.