Monday, June 1, 2009

Introduction: Lytton Smith

But there’s nothing magical about the magical: leave your instruments at the entrance. Lytton Smith’s poems fathom tule fog, minehaul and birdfright, a natural world turned human agent between weather and earthlight. My physicians say the spirits of animals flow within our hollow nerves, he writes, a mutiny in the lungs of children sealbark, wolfhowl. How you were chosen for laying on hands: belief would be an orchard, reliquary of seeds. You’re within the fantastical tent, the rubber man’s cabinet of exotic moths, the hollow hairs of winter animals. If only you had the eyes for it, this itinerance, this merry going round. At edge of the furze I’ve hidden a monster theory: a fear of wheatfields, of groundbeetles, a confusion of daughters, a liminality of, an aloneness of, a hic est monstrum of [monsters]. On unsteady feet, Lytton Smith’s poems rescue flotsam of dismantled carousels, the hot air of zeppelins, a forest washed ashore one winter. He maps the taut nerves, the bright coax, of the beyond-limits, the harnessed bird’s-eye view, hindsight more clearly charted, the slant scripts, as she asked him: comma, anvil, torn. Lytton Smith.

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