some good new poems

F2f_Dchiasson_opn2Dan Chiasson at the New York Review of Books:

American poets tend to want the benefits of song—its emotionality, its melodiousness—without its costs: its triviality, its obliviousness, its feyness. This conflict drives Michael Ruby’s American Songbook, whose title reminds us that we have no body of popular American poems to match the body of American songs, by the Gershwins and Irving Berlin and Cole Porter and many others, whose tunes and lyrics many people know by heart. Ruby’s book presents his own poems, some of them loosely connected with popular songs. What would “Love for Sale,” the Porter tune Ella Fitzgerald made famous, sound like as a difficult postmodern poem? Here is the opening of Ruby’s “Love for Sale,” dedicated by him to Ella Fitzgerald:

defeats sight force
feet please
pail (of milk
I peacock throne open shop to a small group

moon of gazing down
draughts the lit tunnel
wayward town of
apricots mortals
smirk during
I peacock throne go toys to work on vanishing

This is “composed,” more in William Carlos Williams’s sense than in Porter’s, out of noirish bits of city life, rank with desire.

more here.