May 8, 2012

Dara Wier on Gillian Conoley

Gillian Conoley's TALL STRANGER was published in 1991 by Carnegie Mellon University Press.  Now,  almost any title with the word stranger attached to it will get my attention.  I like how the word stranger  functions in many areas:  uncanny thinking, science, and often in poetry, as in James Tate's you are the stranger who gets stranger by the minute.  Even Tina Fey's production company entices for it is called Little Stranger.  Stranger  invites so many sensations: a little dangerous because to us humans what is strange may be as yet misunderstood, a little fetching, as sometimes a stranger is in need of being cared for,  a little unfamiliar, and sometimes very distant, as in alien.  Sometimes a little homespun, as in Howdy, Stranger.  Conoley's book revolves in the orbits of all these.  Here she is:

in the spoiled ash,
in the stirred dust


a shy, secretive being who loves 
how these new homegirls sing


Black horse, red moon,
I want no government,


One day I looked 
at the face in my shoes
and walked off the land

and from the title poem:

I have a different fix on the stars,
and the frontier opens up again,
far into the interior

Download and listen to Gillian Conoley read from Tall Stranger here.
(You can find more on Dara Wier herself here.)

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