Outdoor Voices. Leigh Nash. Proper Tales Press. Cobourg, Ontario. 2016.
Our apologies to Clint Burnham and Sarah Moses - This was the only photo we could find with of Leigh Nash's Outdoor Voices
Sent Milo, our head tech, to the stacks this morning to see what he could dig up on Leigh Nash. Milo didn't come back empty-handed. 2010 was a good year for Nash, Milo was able to find Landforms (Apt. 9 Press, 2010) and Goodbye Ukulele (Mansfield Press, 2010), both breached the surface and landed on the poetry beach.
Proper Tales Press reminds us of what we've been missing with Outdoor Voices, an all too short Nash blitz of her particular twist on the human tug of war. In Nash world the particulars all eventually add up to vision/mood/images that provide ample satisfaction to the reader even if the answers remain slightly beyond reach.
Half-empty crystal tumblers litter the table, wet hearts
shimmying in candlelight. The ceiling fan yawns with each
pirouette. Leftover beers shift in the cooler like melting
icebergs, slip below the watery surface like widowed seahorses.
There are not enough mouths. This party is a shared dream and
I'm waiting for the tide to rise. Out the window, hooves clop to
a stop. I lean forehead to pane: a lonesome mare lists like tinsel
against the inky sky. I rub my eyes.
Nash belongs to several possible schools of poetic charm but Today's book of poetry couldn't nail down her directives any more than pull a rabbit out of one of my hats. But Today's book of poetry is always in, Nash starts up her engine and we are in, we are curious, foot forward followers. People, myself included, often confuse the ride and the destination but Nash seems to know that they are one.
Today's book of poetry is taking liberties but we're going to nab a poem from Nash's Goodbye. Ukulele for today's post. Our Jr. Editor, Kathryn, was rifling through Goodbye, Ukulele during our morning read and insisted we include "A Real Thorn In My Side" in today's blog. Kathryn was adamant, her threat included her repeating how much she could be "a real thorn in my side." Kathryn also made a couple of somewhat threatening hand hand gestures that implied physical harm.
A Real Thorn In My Side
I wolfed down three hearts.
They were salty as olives,
delicious. This was supposed to be
conductive to great work. Instead,
the gas bill arrived twice this
week, and the cat ate my chequebook
and vomited incorrect addition
on the rug. I'm tired of cleaning up
someone else's mess. What
would it take to come home
to windows glowing
like gift boxes, a smoky fire,
a dinner party where all the guests
wore fancy hats and screamed,
where I didn't have to lift a finger.
Today's book of poetry will admit that I am a Leigh Nash fanlet. We've met in passing but with my aging eyesight and bad Badorties memory I'm afraid I wouldn't recognize her if we met again -- unless of course she was holding up one of her poems. Today's book of poetry is confident we'd recognize a Nash poem for its particular lion claw on globe grasp of humour.
In Outdoor Voices all the poems are almost post-card sized, uniform in size and wit and ready to be sent air mail. Leigh Nash can burn, burn, burn. Outdoor Voices is a very tasty appetizer, Today's book of poetry is looking forward to the next full collection from Nash. Everyone should.
And That's the Way It Is
There's the moon again, slitting open the night like a cutlass.
And then I'm driving a Cutlass down the California coast,
switchbacking from cliff to cliff like a hummingbird. Like a tired
horse I lay my head down every few days, slip into dreamless
sleep. When I wake, my body is covered by the sun's blanket,
limbs buzzing drunk. I squeeze back into the driver's seat, ready
to test my luck.
Leigh Nash opens Outdoor Voices with this little epigraph from Joshua Clover:
"The crows hate her for her beauty, she is ugly as a poet."
Nash has a major league sense of humour, right up there with her fine poems. The crows adore her as much as we do.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Leight Nash makes books for a living with Invisible Publishing and The Emergency Response Unit, and in her spare time teaches yoga and reads tarot cards. Her first book of poetry, Goodbye, Ukulele, was published by Mansfield Press in 2010. Leigh lives in Picton, Ontario.
Reads from Goodbye, Ukulele
Video: Mansfield Revue
Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher. They are shown here for publicity and review purposes. For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.
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