I often worry about being misunderstood, which is sort of silly, since what I mean to say does not need to match the reader’s experience for the poem to work. Revision is the heart of writing, of course. I often dream changes. Last night a stranger whispered in my ear, this woman doesn’t speak so much as she bends words, the image of a woman bowing wordlessly.
The thing about poetry that I love is how poems use words and space to replicate or create a geography or location where I can live for a moment. Of course, novels (even films) have the potential to transport me in a similar manner, but these media generally take more material to do the job—a whole paragraph for example, whereas in a poem, the placement of a word or two, the space between a line and the next, can be simply transformative.
Dickman uses space in an amazing way in these poems, which chronicle a story of loss and despair that he never tells outright, but is nonetheless conveyed simply and specifically, with humor and a lightness that surprises line after line. Throughout the volume, flies appear and are the cause-and-effect of mundane domestic life and bewildering domestic tragedy. A way of asking why and a way of answering we can never know.