Startling in its Vividness: FOLIO Reading

By Taylor Estape

On Monday, March 11th, Jack Collom opened the FOLIO reading for faculty with recently published work with selections from his newest book Second Nature, declaring from the preface, “Nature is everything and something…It’s the desire to smash something. Therefore it’s an entity of great simultaneous scale.” He read further from a section of  Lunes – poetic vignettes that capture, with exuberance and spontaneity, “whatever comes plunging out of the murk.” Both the Eco Lunes and the ending narrative drew surprising parallels between Collom’s ecological ethics and the underlying consideration of human involvement, as when a deer slaughters herself on the fence meant to protect her and Collom observes “blood to the face of the lover;” or, for one of his final lines, he stated “care is the emotional correlative of air.”

Reed Bye read from his most recent collection of poetry, Catching On. The poems straddled pure coherence and pure musicality. The balance he hit between the two was light yet beautiful, buoyant yet rooted somewhere deep where physicality and psyche meet. When Bye read, “she almost sails that is the virgin/ snow of air as she goes simply/ off course under the care of heaven,” it was as though there was always something earthly in the ethereal. He seemed to be defining the space of his own work when he describe “a place round and uncontrived,” and yet there were poetic bursts, such as “sun licking its lips on the thought of what will soon be catching on.”

Due to the absence of Michelle Naka Pierce and Andrea Rexilius, Anne Waldman generously read from her newest book-length poem Gossamurmur, as well as from her Iovis trilogy. Waldman’s performance from Iovis was driven by the anxiety of the hungry ghost, repeating “never have enough eat enough get enough; never have enough eat enough get enough.” The legendary poet seemed to conjure the insatiable desire of everyone and anyone in the room, gathering it in bursts of song and incantation. Gossamurmur, she acknowledged at the beginning of her reading, is a work partly concerned with the protection of poetry through archive; at one point in her reading she shouted, “Oh Poets! Guard your words!”

Lastly, Junior Burke read from the revised addition of his novel, Something Gorgeous. The scene opened on an aspiring bootlegger in the prohibition era attempting to prove himself to a distributor, so he agrees to kill a man. The decidedly noir-esque bent painted all of the characters in a perpetual cloud of smoke, although Burke’s language was smooth and concise. As we steadily approached the instance of bloodshed, the characters gracefully stepped into the perfect cinematic moment, drawn so clearly by Burke that the streak of red on the hotel room wall was startling in its vividness.


Taylor Estape is originally from Miami, FL and recently graduated from the Jack Kerouac School’s BA Writing and Literature program. She is currently preoccupied with a manuscript about floods, a general state of confusion and terror, and finding different ways to eat all forms of pork. She has no idea what will happen next.