Winner of the 2004 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize
Blue on Blue Ground is about the body, desire, anxiety, and obsession—how what we want redeems and isolates us (and is sometimes used against us). These poems are artful yet accessible, lyrical yet direct, strange but recognizable.
Smith’s relentless self-examination, fear, sense of humor, and vulnerability are all laid to bare in crisp, precise language. From lonely observations, bizarre medical fascinations, emotion, loss, and honesty, Blue on Blue Ground constructs its internal and external worlds.
The metaphorical city is also a “body,” a place of exile and restoration, a symbol of hope, a catalyst for connection. The urban landscape is often the background for the moment or is the moment itself—the world looked at and sorted into words.
Though at times dark, there’s love to be found. Perhaps it’s what drives this collection, colors its observations, and leads it to finally announce: “Someone is putting the world back together.” <I>Blue on Blue Ground</I> wants to look at absolutely everything and believes that complete exploration of the physical and mental selves—fears and desires—is the key to moving and being completely alive in the material world.
About the Author
Table of ContentsContents Part I Keep Him There Working Out with the Boys Dr. Engel Buys the Jesus-on-a-Spring Action Figure Notes Composed in a Heat Wave Secrets of an Identity Thief Wreckage Confrontation Psalm: West Virginia How Easily He Moves Dr. Engel Survives the Blackout in New York City Rain in Pittsburgh Jockstrap Her Bright Face at the Places of Our Leaving Boston Dr. Engel Writes a Love Letter Part II The Signs of Choking Taking Off from the Airport / Cleveland, Ohio Dr. Engel Goes to the Nudist Colony Brad Pitt Boston Cher Uncensored Silent Room Prayer for a Doctor New Zealand Hand Model Stuart Poses with Kiwifruit and Has a Foot Fetish (notes from an interview) Valedictory Frank O’Hara The Story of Your Leaving Music History Story Then Dr. Engel Studies John Currin’s Paintings The Last Small Thing Late Ars Poetica Part III Dark, Awful Man Dr. Engel Interprets Rothko’s Blue, Green, Blue on Blue Ground Dear Matt Damon The Trick Explanation Snow Things I Could Never Tell My Mother Sightings Poem for the End of Summer Dr. Engel Passes a Generically Attractive Couple What’s Required After Coming Out to My Sister After-School Special Dr. Engel Teaches the Poet How to Swim Learning the Body Notes Composed on a Sidewalk Notes Acknowledgments
What People are Saying About This
Wickedly funny, brash and beautiful, Aaron Smith's poems reinvigorate the poetic landscape. Here's a book that will make your heart jump as it unzips and reveals the crispest imagery and the bluest language; a book that will leave bite marks on the inner thigh of literature.
'How quickly I am made strange,' says the daughter of a dying man seen accidentally by a stranger walking by the hospital window and stopping to watch; and reading these often beautiful poems, how quickly we are made strange, alive to ourselves.
How entertaining to read this poet's litany of doubts and anxieties! It's awesome how he peels off his skin-he flinches plenty, but operates on himself heroically. . . .You emerge from these poems feeling cleansed. Aaron Smith convinces us, powerfully, that this is what poetry is for.
Aaron Smith has a remarkable gift as a poet, just that what he writes finds form as simply and as clearly as someone's saying hello. . . I would call him a natural if I did not know how consciously he takes hold in his art. . . . Aaron Smith speaks with a rare grace, truly.
Aaron Smith's Blue on Blue Ground is a sensuous poetry, a poetry about the complexities of both the psyche and the body. . . . Matt Damon, Cher, Brad Pitt, and even Jesus (as action figure and subject of a kitschy Web site) weave into a 'real' life, a life underneath a flashy and comic surface, a life without artifice.