Selected Letters

Selected Letters

by B. J. Soloy


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"These poems really put the bear in Bea Arthur. They shake and shiver like roses on the trellis Soloy is climbing to enter the upper floors of our hearts. They are the whole marching band, and we fall in with the poet and the people and parts of his composed world, even though the music is fluttering off our music stands in this weather we're having. I treasure this poet's work." --Ed Skoog

"In Selected Letters, BJ Soloy addresses the oldest, strangest, rumors of ourselves, whether we be deceased celebrities or his personal friends. That we are all 'excellent/food for many predators' is a truth he handles with an exquisite attunement both to hilarity and grief--for Soloy’s slippery, canny intelligence creates switchbacks and u-turns: his poems force recognitions sure to simultaneously reassure and discomfit. When have I gotten such deep pleasure from a vision that so readily acknowledges its own bleakness? Never. I simply follow: 'each line a last line until the next.'" --Elizabeth Robinson

"Ostensibly elegies to dead celebrities, BJ Soloy's "letters" tell us more about the private life of the poet than the public figures they address. Bea Arthur's death stirs his own remorse: 'I do miss you in a small, potent way / & regret a lot of things.' Merle Haggard's aged face triggers Soloy's 'post- / modern brand of neurosis': 'My face is apparently still young, if less / & less.' Soloy situates us in his world, a poet's world, which is both lovely and lonely. In the end, he is on intimate terms with mortality: 'It's not mine--none of it.' An original voice, blessedly frayed around the edges." --David Trinidad

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781934832585
Publisher: New Michigan Press
Publication date: 11/28/2016
Pages: 60
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.14(d)

Table of Contents


Children on Television, 1
Bea Arthur, Dead at 86, 2
Antonin Scalia, Dead at 79, 3
Eric, Supposedly 32, 4
Lucia Berlin, the Average Dog Born & Dead Since Your Death, 5
Dearest Alice Notley, 6
Philip, Brother, Bartender, 8
Merle Haggard, 10
Our Emma, Fairest When Fleeing, 12
Oh, Torpor.My Drawl.My Poor Drawn Light, 14
Andy Williams, Dead at 84, 16
Larry Levis, Big Deal, 16
Well Hell, Birdie, 17
Khaty Xiong, 23
That Other Guy From The Eagles, Dead Not Too Long After Bowie, 24
Andrew Martin, 26
Robert Goulet, Dead at 73, 28
Rachel Mindell, 30
James Taylor, I Forgive You. Groveling 32
Morgan Maurath, 34
Kim Bell, 36
You, Oh You, Trying to Light a Firecracker in the Snow, 38

Rick Springfield, Get Off My Lawn. 39
Oh, Lioness, 40
Donald J. Trump, Hyperobject, 41
Michael Landon, Dead So Long, 43
Thomas Kinkade, Dead at 54, 45

Acknowledgments 47

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