SubText Books Poetry Book Club
The second Sunday of every month at 3pm.
Poetry Book Club is an opportunity to join other readers in discussion of a book of poetry with no pressure to like or “understand” every book or poem. Simply read the book and come to the discussion with an open, generous, and curious mind. We’ll have a conversation about the overall themes, the poems we’re drawn to, how the poet is using the tools of poetry to communicate, and any other ideas and questions the poems generate. Books can be purchased from SubText Books at a discount in the month leading up to the meeting.
Discussions led by poet and critic Timothy Otte.
Click here for an archive of past books we've discussed.
6 Fifth Street West, St. Paul MN 55102
Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers by Jake Skeets
Sunday, April 12, 2020, 3pm.
From the publisher:
Selected by Kathy Fagan as a winner of the 2018 National Poetry Series, Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers is a debut collection of poems by a dazzling geologist of queer eros.
Drunktown, New Mexico, is a place where men “only touch when they fuck in a backseat.” Its landscape is scarred by violence: done to it, done on it, done for it. Under the cover of deepest night, sleeping men are run over by trucks. Navajo bodies are deserted in fields. Resources are extracted. Lines are crossed. Men communicate through beatings, and football, and sex. In this place, “the closest men become is when they are covered in blood / or nothing at all.”
But if Jake Skeets’s collection is an unflinching portrait of the actual west, it is also a fierce reclamation of a living place—full of beauty as well as brutality, whose shadows are equally capable of protecting encounters between boys learning to become, and to love, men. Its landscapes are ravaged, but they are also startlingly lush with cacti, yarrow, larkspur, sagebrush. And even their scars are made newly tender when mapped onto the lover’s body: A spine becomes a railroad. “Veins burst oil, elk black.” And “becoming a man / means knowing how to become charcoal.” Rooted in Navajo history and thought, these poems show what has been brewing in an often forgotten part of the American literary landscape, an important language, beautiful and bone dense.
Sculptural, ambitious, and defiantly vulnerable, the poems of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers are coal that remains coal, despite the forces that conspire for diamond, for electricity.
Visit SubText Books to buy a copy!