Amy Clark and Katy Gordon Share Their Unassuming, Uncommon Poetry at Observable Readings March 7
The title of Amy Clark’s first book of poetry, Stray Home, suggests both a temporary dwelling for a lost, unattached creature, and the act of a creature journeying toward permanent shelter. We can expect Clark to tell us two or more things in the same breath, and so much about love, grief, and hope, for that matter, in two simple words. She unzips rueful lifetimes from sonnets like “First Thing This Morning” and plumbs a bottomless loss in the villanelle “The Lafayette Square Holiday Mansion.” Employing predictable forms and exploring such familiar subjects as father and daughter, a dying pet dog, or a soured romance, Clark is anything but predictable or familiar. Her poems shatter glass without histrionics. They make us suspect that our own visions may be self-delusions. Yet compassion and gentleness brim in her work; strays deserve no worse.
Charming and discreetly intellectual, Katy Gordon’s poems demonstrate an enviable ability to make any subject come alive. They portray the natural world, the city, and even us silly humans with refreshing wit, clarity, and extraordinary depth. Evident in every poem are an engaged mind—polymathic in its range of knowledge—and an unassuming speaker with both an accessible and delightfully unusual way of speaking. It’s no wonder that Gordon also wrote a lengthy glossary of Scots for her anthology Voices From Their Ain Countrie: The Poems of Marion Angus and Violet Jacob (2006), the first scholarly edition of selected poems by the two writers. The glossary, much like Gordon’s poetry, twinkles with rare and splendid words.