Monday, August 6, 2018

Headline News — John Deming (Indolent Books)

Today's book of poetry:
Headline News.  John Deming.  Indolent Books.  Brooklyn, New York.  2018.

what is my relationship with your god

what is my relationship with your god
what is my relationship with your media

the man with the black ski mask
the flashy blade in his hand
the man with the orange hat



compromising one's fears like putting
on an orange


John Deming is hot for headlines, Headline News is prescient and makes for an action packed read.  At a time when fewer and fewer poets are interested, Deming is gleaning gold from the mouths of power.

Deming's flash-card epistles scour the media, eat the bold print like crackers, and then like some wizened and wise sage, he parrots the memes to us in these postcard sized pronouncements.


I know
I've seen the tapestries

placid doesn't
know what
capture means

unicorn encircled
by a small pink fence
bleeding into flowers


Today's book of poetry got a particular feeling in our stomach when reading Headline News.  With every turn of the page we felt like we were being let in on some new hyper-knowledge.  Reading John Deming makes you feel informed and a little edgy too.  That is a good thing - poetry should be unsettling once in a while.

Talk about unsettled!!, as I wrote those last lines a giant spider eight-legged over towards me.  I didn't notice him until he hoofed it over a yellow post-it note on the corner of my desk.  Today's book of poetry is an insect suck (and yes, I do know that spiders aren't insects).  Spiders scare the bejesus out of me, make me weak in the knees.

For the spider-lovers in the audience - it is time for you to turn your heads.

It was with a spontaneous and deadly thumping splat that I introduced myself to the dark brown arachnid.  It was a one time meeting but I'm afraid I had turned the beast into a Kurt Vonnegut doodled asshole ❋.

Today's book of poetry would never kill a spider in the outdoors — but if you're in my house and on my desk — goodbye spider.

Today's book of poetry apologizes for the distraction.  Milo, our head tech, kleenexed the spider to a garbage pail and arachnid heaven.  Kathryn, our Jr. Editor, got the rest of us rolling with the morning read of Mr. Deming's thoroughly entertaining and enlightening Headline News.  


they'll be outdated
just as fast
you watch

the wheelbarrow
also was a tech

you can only save
lives for so 


Deming is submerging us in the new language of today's media, the modern gaze.  Our future will be described in headlines only, or not at all.

Today's book of poetry was surprised by how easily Deming had us convinced that Headline News is future vision.  These poems had us bending our brittle brains around some surreal curves but Deming always gets his ship back on course.

Yes, John Deming can burn.

belief in the destiny of values

belief in the destiny of values
means community and fear



when there is thunder
my schnauzer gets scared

the emotional lives of penguins
our emotional lives in dreams

birds fed by dreams and the holes they leave
as with unimpaired meteor streams


Today's book of poetry is exited to bring John Deming into your poetry lives.  These are headlines you must read, poems that force you to think against your own grain and enjoy it are unicorn rare.
Good poetry is always worth your time and Headline News demands it. 

Today's book of poetry is going to share a rare fifth poem.  Why?  John Deming's Headline News earned it.

okay so the worst has happened

okay so the worst has happened
someone build a fire


I still have my Duane Reade
Rewards card I'll be fine

after all it's still just the rest of the world and you

some hundred million others wondering
how to overcome extreme
what to do


Image result for john deming photo

John Deming

JOHN DEMING has published poems and articles in Boston Review, Salon, Fence, New Orleans Review, A Public Space, Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion, and elsewhere. He is editor in chief of Coldfront and lives in New York City, where he directs the writing center at LIM College and, with Jason Schneiderman, co-curates KGB Monday Night Poetry in the East Village.

“It is difficult to get the news from poems,” wrote William Carlos Williams, “yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.” In Headline News, John Deming gives us the news and makes a poem of it, springboarding into a prosody informed by brevity, clarity and precision, a kind of decalinear sonnet unfolding itself into blossom. Deming’s great gift here is a capacious and capricious mindfulness, improvising and responding to the deadpan lunacy of newspaper headlines in such a way as to make them seem almost mystical.
     —D. A. POWELL

In Headline News, John Deming makes us feel the strangeness of what we’ve been hearing and seeing in 21st century America. Reading these poems, “I’m feeling weirder/and clearer tonight.” Quoted headlines appear in all caps, but the rest of the writing is equally telegraphic and punchy—until we get punch drunk, wondering what’s real news and what isn’t. This mix-up seems telling and inevitable now.



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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