The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog

April 27, 2007

"Whole Day Gone To Hell"

Much digital ink has been spilled on this blog on the subject of how awesome August Kleinzahler is, so I'm very happy to put up the first of his readings, a poem called 'Green Sees Things In Waves.'

Now, as you probably know, one of the main ideas behind this poetry month blog and all the audio I've been posting is that, as James McMichael said, "poetry is an aural medium," one that benefits from a good listen. But poetry is also something of a visual art--there's a beauty to the way it is laid on the page (more on this later today) and something soothing about reading a poem in your favoite book, even if you've read it a thousand times before.

And because of that, I'm teaming up today with Callie's poetry month initative over at her blog, Counterbalance. She's been posting favorite poems all month, some her own and some suggested by readers. I was happy to suggest this one, and for the text of this poem, I hope you'll visit her site here.

As Kleinzahler explains in his introduction to 'Green Sees Things in Waves,' the subject of this poem comes from his time spent working with homeless veterans, and I delight a bit in the idea of how stunned these guys must have been when, instead of getting a tightly laced poetry teacher in a suit and tie, they got a teacher who looked like he knew his way around the parts of San Francisco they'd been hanging out in and didn't even mind some swearing in their poetry.

(This poem is from a book of the same name, which you can buy online.)


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If you haven't seen the film WHEN I CAME HOME yet, you can watch the one-minute trailer at:

It's all about Iraq War vets that end up homeless in New York.

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