The Other Poems


"There You Go"

At long last, I'm going in
with everybody.

EVERYBODY: Everybody, shut up.

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"There You Go"

At long last, I'm going in
with everybody.

EVERYBODY: Everybody, shut up.
MONDAY: It’s happening again.
MONEY: It's me, isn't it?
A SYSTEM: Can I just say:

Run free in the wheat, commandant—
like a plow with a human face or

like a face plowing down the American plain.

These are “talky sonnets” in the vein of John Berryman’s and Ted Berrigan’s, written on the poet's lunch hour in the spirit of Frank O'Hara. Winner of the Fence Modern Poets series.

Paul Legault’s first book, The Madeline Poems, was published in 2010. Raised in Tennessee, Paul lives with his husband in Brooklyn, New York, where he works at the Academy of American Poets.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bizarre, comic, unsettling all the way through, this book-length sequence of a second effort from Legault (The Madeleine Poems) makes up either a set of avant-garde sonnets, or a collection of 14-line playlets, whose many terse voices or characters come straight out of the theater of the absurd. Representative lines from “Hideaway Ranch,” for example, read “THE GREEN FOOT: Let’s get going./ THE CROWN: There are no foreigners./ THE FOREIGNER: There are no foreigners that exist.” Legault mixes in meta-discourse about the nature of speakers and writings, but also delights in shock: “The Things You Find Underwater” introduces speech-tags for Jacques Cousteau, “History,” “Biology,” “Floral Print Dress,” and finally “Manatee,” who gets the last word: “An octopus’s butt is also its mouth.” Legault’s deadpan wordplay often flirts with philosophical language (“Given a condition that is assumed to be true without further evaluation,/ things stay sound”). Legault’s sequence poses a challenge to readers who expect coherence or consistency, subject, voice or setting, returning instead—in a hyperactive, comic vein—to the experiments of the most aggressive language writers during the 1980s. Delightfully strange a few at a time, these works might tire readers who try to plow straight through—though some may find just that disorientation, that insistence on oddity after oddity, a hallmark of artistic advance. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934200506
  • Publisher: Fence Magazine, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/22/2011
  • Series: Fence Modern Poets Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 72
  • Sales rank: 1,003,476
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Legault was born in Ontario and raised in Tennessee. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia and a B.F.A. in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in The Awl, Denver Quarterly, Maggy, SUPERMACHINE, Washington Square, and other journals. His first book of poetry The Madeleine Poems was published by Omnidawn in 2010. Currently, he is translating the complete works of Guillaume Apollinaire as well as Renée Gagnon's Steve McQueen (mon amoureux) from the French. He has also finished an English-to-English translation of the complete works of Emily Dickinson, part of which has been published as a chapbook, The Emily Dickinson Reader, vol. 1 (Try and Make, 2009). With Sharmila Cohen, he edits the translation press Telephone Books. Paul lives with his husband, Orion Jenkins, in Brooklyn, NY where he works at the Academy of American Poets.
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