Adam Sobsey reviewed Key Bridge
in this week's Independent Weekly
!! Thanks a lot, Adam! Wow, it's really so heartwarming to get all this positive feedback about the book; I'm super grateful once again.
And yay! Tim Earley and Susan Briante brought the Desert City to Greensboro in style. Both terrific readings by Tim and Susan, a good little crowd, some of the Triangle folks made it out, we had it in the big gallery, we stayed up till 4 trying to "define" sexy, and the in-joke of the night was coined early: "this little boy named Jose."
Thank god for Jose and poetry! And many, many thanks to Susan and Tim for reading and everyone for coming out.
Below are the introductions:
2. “Love,” writes Tim Earley, “is a rose by any other name and sticks you / with its plastic thorn. Sure it doesn’t hurt, / but sure who’s asking it to?” Like these lines from “Jing Poem,” Earley’s poems in his first book, Boondoggle, relentlessly seek to illuminate the gaps between what we experience, how we talk about it, and the profound isolation that results from our inability to reconcile the differences between those two worlds. Words are not the thing they name, but they are thorny, sticking things.
3. Tim Earley is a North Carolinian by birth and the grace of god, and he currently lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina, with the literary theorist Sallie Anglin. When not teaching at Catawba Valley Community College, Earley spends his time slaying the forces of evil that spawn continually in the virtual world of role playing video games. No simple “meat shield,” Earley enjoys playing characters that are, like his poems, more complex.
4. Along with the complexity of Earley’s poems is a deep longing for the world. Images, scenes, people, and landscapes continually capture his eye, but as he tries to describe them, the words get in the way, and he’s lost in a tangle of language as the tactile world slips away. He writes, “There are childhood / days when the body really is not / a body and you are more of a green wisp / among the earth and still sweat. / … / One day I will touch each person’s / shoulder in a gesture / of sincere understanding and warm fellow-feeling, the sun real as an eye. // Today is Belgium.”
5. Earley’s poems have appeared in Fascicle, Chicago Review, jubilat, Conduit, and other literary journals. He’s twice been a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and in 2005 Main Street Rag Press published his first book, Boondoggle. In the fall, he enters the English PhD program at the University of Mississippi.
6. While often words confound the speaker’s efforts to communicate, experience, and understand, there are nearly as many moment when the absurdity of language as revealed by Earley creates glorious visions, visions not exactly of the tactile world but of a marvelous parallel world that sheds light across all these divisions. “More town business / is what you need, and a livelier step. / Everything in the country is orange, though, / rust & toads & dirt, the days eat / all the pieces of your sky.”
7. Please welcome Tim Earley.
8. “Witness the aesthetics of 6 lanes of bus fumes, cluttered / sidewalks where claustrophobic anticipation works its corkscrew. / The US Border Inspection Station yawns, high priest / of star makers, gargoyles and liquor stores; / shaman of hundched shoulders, street debris, buckets of dirty water / or warm tortillas, a hastily ironed shirt, the sunshine muse.” The poems in Susan Briante’s first book, Pioneers in the Study of Motion, are interested in places, locations, and borders, the consequence of ideas like “place” and “location.”
9. “They come down from the mountains like clouds, like christs, and wander into the cities. In addition to the difference in sea levels, there is the stark gap of languages.”
10. Currently an assistant professor at the University of Texas in Dallas, Briante spent seven years living in Mexico after quitting journalism. There she began to write poems and became involved with the literary journal Mandorla, one of the foremost journals of innovative translation.
11. Briante’s poems have roots and spread like vines; her lines leave trails over the landscape she criss-crossing in an attempt to stitch together what otherwise seems otherworldly: “Between he window washer and curb, a galaxy swirls. // Between windshield and rag, office towers sway. // Old ladies pluck orange candies from pink market tubs. // Passionflower vines capture red and blue wavelengths of light. // Any search requires a preposition as in: ‘Estoy buscando a mi amigo.’”
12. Briante can’t escape the things of this world and doesn’t want to; instead, these poems take stock, reveal, revel at times, and insist that the borders we keep around our thinking, our lives, and our spaces, insist that those borders are permeable: “There is Tupperware buried under that building. Tupperware and tuna fish cans and bulk mailings and dental floss and unmatched socks and dice and sppons and cuff links and office supply catalogues and bolts and coke bottles and combs under that building. / In the Holland Tunnel, tiles glisten white as alveoli. / The glass is wired.”
13. The visions Pioneers in the Study of Motion offers are not like those of the Oracle of Delphi; they are visions that reveal the sweat, oil, guns, and work behind the next bag of grapes we toss in our shopping carts.
14. Please welcome Susan Briante.