Selected Shorter Poems and Prose Poems
One poem per page, sometimes one stanza per page, here is a poet with the range to match the twenty-first century of noise with lyric brevity, humor, horror, shifting language and consciousness. David Blair’s True Figures: New and Selected Shorter Poems and Prose Poems, 1998-2021 collects poems from his first four books of poetry alongside unpublished lyrics and new poems that frame this as a collection with its own themes and logic.
Praise for David Blair
The poems of David Blair can introduce you to a better and more various and more possible world. Maybe nobody since the days of Schuyler and O’Hara has done so much with such American free verse to bring us, observantly, carefully, to this place, right now. These poems are very good, and internally various as few poets’ midcareer poems have ever been.
Like all true poets, David Blair seeks restlessly for a grounding in reality for poetic experience, and like the bravest poets, he owns his relish for goofs, misfits and pratfalls. And like the best physical comedians, they of the light touch, he makes his punchlines the set up for moments of grace.
Who doesn’t love short(er) poems, those delectable crystallized consumables? I can think of nothing I wouldn’t trust David Blair to tell me something interesting about: gray seasides, movies from pulp horror to high art, a crowded bar, a suburban Whole Foods, just-rural horses penned in a field, John Donne. The poems overflow with crisp original images, which surround every subject with a dazzle. And then the dazzle gets slashed through with heartbreaking universality, as in these lines:
The harshness of life is made sweet
by companionship, coin of the realm.
Praise that poverty now.
For all its compression, True Figures makes an expansive companion: in loneliness, in wandering, in getting-through, in noticing opportunities to be genuinely alive.
by David Blair
$21.95, paperback, 116 pp