“I love Derrick Brown for the surprise of one word waking up next to another. One moment tender, funny or romantic, the next, visceral, ironic and revelatory—here is the full chaos of life.” Janet Fitch, White Oleander, Paint It Black
Our Poison Horseby Derrick Brown
Our Poison Horse is the newest poetry collection released by Derrick C. Brown. Brown is the winner of the Texas Book of The Year Prize, 2013. The New York Times calls his work a “…rekindling of the faith in the shocking, weird and beautiful power of words.” Brown finally sold the ship, The Sea Section, upon which he lived for years in the Long… See more details below
Our Poison Horse is the newest poetry collection released by Derrick C. Brown. Brown is the winner of the Texas Book of The Year Prize, 2013. The New York Times calls his work a “…rekindling of the faith in the shocking, weird and beautiful power of words.” Brown finally sold the ship, The Sea Section, upon which he lived for years in the Long Beach harbor, after which he took to hunting for a city that was affordable and had a bustling writer’s community. He landed in Austin, Texas and when the progress of that town got to be intense, he moved to the nearby countryside in Elgin, Texas, and from that pastoral setting came unfurling this new collection of his most personal work to date.
Brown has been known as one of the most touring, well travelled living poets in America. He has based his whole writing career on changing peoples minds about poetry and he feels a quality, unforgettable live experience can achieve that.
Brown told himself he needed a 10-year hiatus from writing poetry when he felt the well of creativity had dried up. 2 years ago, he wrote a one-hour long ‘poetic play’ called Strange Light, commissioned by The Noord Nederlands Dans Group in Holland. The piece was performed by 14 dancers and accompanied by a live orchestra using music composed by fellow Americans, Emily Wells and Timmy Straw. While he was working on a new libretto for Wayne State University in Detroit, he was set up in a seemingly pastoral country setting, where, as Brown says, “an incredible war broke out inside and out, such bright, massive storms, snakes, guns, howling wind, hard sun: all kinds of poems gushed forth. I gave in to the process and my best work to date was born, this will be my 5th book.”
Our Poison Horse touches on more autobiography than the romantic and fantastical that was so present in his past work. In Derrick Brown’s words:
“I found a poetry in the real events that shaped or broke me. Every morning, I would quiet down, stare out into the field where we were watching our neighbors horse, a horse that was poisoned with pesticide by some local boys, a horse with massive scars all down its body from it’s skin peeling from the poison sprayed upon it maliciously by some bastard kids. I watched the horse heal and finally come to me, and trust me and eat carrots. Something about that horse, Lacey, about it not trusting me and then warming up pulled something out of me that I didn’t know I was ready for. There is a theme that in beautiful places, you will
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Read an Excerpt
THE RUINED LIFE
Your life is ruined when one lost person becomes a loved, low song and you stop searching for new music, convinced it will all sound the same.
Your life is ruined when you won’t make her dinner because you hate dirty dishes more than you love her.
Your life is ruined when you hoped the violence you saw in him would protect you from the world, and how sad that it did.
Your life is ruined when someone makes you choose science or miracles without seeing how well they party.
Your life is ruined when you realize too late that the magic it takes to change someone exhausts all your magic.
Your life is ruined when all your friends tell you to get married because it makes buying a house easier but you never see them cause it demands so much work.
Your life is ruined when you begin to rebuild your home before the last bomb falls and the war is declared over.
Your life is ruined when people holding hands while riding bikes just seems dangerous.
Cristin and I were chatting about her break up, her new life how everything was brand new and then
her chair broke and she fell to the floor like mashed potatoes.
She didn’t cry.
She just laid there, stretched out and looked like an extra, waiting for action to be called in a catastrophe film.
When a poet eats it, they begin sorting out the meaning of all broken chairs,
of all support surprising you and caving in suddenly,
unsure of what sucks more- the bruise or having to check chairs for the rest of your life.
I helped her up. Swung open the glass door.
I threw the chair high into the backyard air and watched it shatter.
“Fuck this chair.
This chair is from the forest of assholes.
This chair can eat my hot fuck and die.”
Cristin then quietly went outside, barefoot collected the pieces from the grass and took it into the garage so she could fix it.
“It didn’t break.
I broke it.”
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