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HANK LAZER

Hank Lazer has published 15 books of poetry, most recently Portions (Lavender Ink, 2009), The New Spirit (Singing Horse, 2005), Elegies & Vacations (Salt, 2004), and Days (Lavender Ink, 2002). He edits the Modern and Contemporary Poetics Series for the University of Alabama Press. His poems and essays appear in American Poetry Review, Boston Review and Virginia Quarterly Review (which awarded him the Balch Prize in poetry). 

The New Spirit was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize; Elegies & Vacations was nominated for the Forward Prize. Lazer has given readings and talks throughout the US and in China, the Canary Islands, Spain, Canada, Mexico, and France. Audio and video recordings-- including readings from Portions and an interview for Art International Radio – can be found at Lazer’s PennSound website here

 

For the past four years, he has been working on a handwritten shape-writing project called the Notebooks (of Being & Time). Lazer has collaborated with jazz musicians Tom Wolfe and Chris Kozak on some jazz and poetry improvisations, with outsider artist Pak on a series of poem-paintings, and with animation artist Janeann Dill on a poetry-video installation project. Currently, Lazer is working with book-artist Steve Miller and several Cuban book artists on a fine press bilingual selection from his Notebooks project.  

 

Lazer is Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and the Executive Director of the Creative Campus initiative at the University of Alabama. 

 

BLANK

—for Arakawa & Madeline Gins

 

the words begin

as proper designations

to leave me

 

when to cleave

means to cling

to or cut

 

through   as they

had conjectured i

am become quite

 

blank    am built

& feel it

happen upon a

 

blank     event     place

image     engendered upon

a blank     of

 

& prior to

of     we will

use this fact

 

HANDS

from where to

where on morning

air light simple

 

prayer consecutive with

consent to see

sit with hands

 

open palms upward

small invisible flame

in each sorrowing

 

call of stellar

jay child before

a mirror tries

 

on baggy coat

our language     red

tail hawk   wheels

 

upward    see into

i say riding

gesture of hands

 

PASSAGE

i am after

passage plain &

simple across which

 

then from there

took off decidedly

somewhat different    case

 

of self differing

i am after

passage out as

 

they before me

borders & borderguards

i am passage

 

destination unfamiliar self

differing by landing

sites sensed the

 

odd patterns of

light     i am

after passage out

 

PUT

put me in

mind of    landing

site permeable to

 

sudden change    schooled

meaning milled or

sculpted   become something

 

of interest   put

me in mind

of    whoever says

 

so    from blank

to labyrinth   which

is itself essentially

 

blank    put me

in mind of

then norman had

 

us get up

(in mind of)

& walk around  

 

BUSINESS

john dark angel

can it be

you the only

 

one i know

has this astringent

candor serious utterly

 

serious about business

of moving exactly

around a few

 

words john i

read where you

wrote where you

 

salute another as

“dark captain of

the fiery hunt

 

which i have

abandoned”   what then

will you do?

 

 

THOUGHT  

it is not

at all a

bad thing

 

that thought has

taken over being

one of several

 

circuitous ways home

odd time among

tall cement structures

 

not easy when

young to be

yourself that structure

 

exactly uncertain light

them & say

a blessing it

 

is blessèd to

stretch & breathe

with resolute care

 

 

 

 

copyright © Hank Lazer