Tag Archives: philip dacey

Enjoy the Latest Poetry in the Fox Chase Review

fox chase reviewEnjoy the latest poetry in The Fox Chase Review by Jonel Abellanosa, Nathalie Anderson, Ashley Elizabeth Best, Lauren Camp, Philip Dacey, Dennis Daly, Joshua Gray, Lisa Lewis, Rodger Lowenthal, Tom Mallouk, Ellen Peckham, Russell Reece, Rebecca Schumejda, John Timpane and Frank Wilson. Follow the poets at this link: http://www.thefoxchasereview.org/poetry.html

Philip Dacey in the Winter 2014 Edition of The Fox Chase Review

pdRONDEL: THE PIANIST – at Juilliard By Philip Dacey

http://www.thefoxchasereview.org/w14pdacey.html

10 Questions for Philip Dacey

philip_dacey_at_SSUPhilip Dacey is the author of twelve books of poetry, most recently Gimme Five (2013), the winner of the Blue Light Press Book Award. The recipient of three Pushcart Prizes, two NEA grants, and a Fulbright
lectureship for his poetry,  he has written entire collections of poems  about Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas  Eakins, and New York City. His work has appeared in the Hudson Review, Partisan Review, Poetry, Georgia Review, Southern Review, Esquire, Paris Review, The Nation,
and The American Scholar.  In 2012 he moved from Manhattan’s Upper
West Side to Minneapolis. To learn more about Philip Dacey please visit http://www.philipdacey.com/bio.html

Interview by:  g emil reutter

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GER:There has been much debate about the relevance of poetry and poets in recent years. Your career spans decades. Has this been a consistent presence on the poetry scene or a new argument?

PD: I think it’s inevitable that the question is a perennial one since
poetry is conspicuously both a necessary and a useless art.  “Useless” as in “non-utilitarian.”   We know it’s necessary because of its constancy in human history; we know it’s useless because that same history was, and remains, “a vale of tears,” unchanged by the poets. Dr. Williams famously said, “You can’t get the news from poetry, but men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.” It so happens I’ve been reading the new book of essays about the work of Stephen Dunn, The Room and the World, where the issue you raised is much explored.  A consistent theme there is that poetry serves by shining a light on the limitations of language and human perception, and therefore the limitations of itself, and in the process of doing so points the way toward what truly is as opposed to comfortable illusions about what is.

GER:  Your poems have been set to various musical genres. How has this
impacted your poetry and how has the added exposure aided you in your
pursuit of the art?

PD: I’ve always thought that the poet envies the musician, as the musician can make pure music while the poet has to make music through the medium of language, with all its varied baggage.  Words as means to an end; the end as music.  Maybe I’m a frustrated musician and why I became a Juilliard junkie during my eight years living in Manhattan. Maybe I shouldn’t have quit piano lessons in grade school when it came time to give a recital and I panicked.  I’d like to think that musicians’ interest in my work has confirmed my tendency to see poetry as fundamentally a musical art, with words substituting for notes. I’ll call Frost as my witness: “The ear is the only true writer and the only true reader.” (An interesting coincidence: after answering your second question, I picked up Eliot’s Four Quartets to do some re-reading and the first line I flipped the book open to was “Words move, music moves.”)  Poetry as music versus poetry–back to question #1–as tool for accurately describing the self and world seem to conflict, but I’d simply say that Poetry as a Platonic absolute does not exist and instead there are poetries plural; no Chairness but lots of chairs of all sorts.

p3GER: During your career you have received a number of fellowships and residences. How important is it for a poet to pursue these types of programs?

PD: As with poetry itself, important and not important.  Clearly important for a career as poet, maybe too for building self-confidence, but in terms of actually impacting on the poetry and its strength I don’t see how there can be a connection.  How many fellowships did Dickinson get?  There can be a danger, too, in careerism, where “making it” takes precedence over “making the poems.”  And maybe the emphasis should be even more on the making than on the poems themselves; the process as the goal; the journey as destination.  It’s easy to forget, given the star-quality of so many poets, that only a small percentage of them will be read by posterity.  Yeats when asked to comment on his poet-ontemporaries said, “One thing is certain: there are too many of us.”  The many disappear, and the few remain.  My way of dealing with that fact is to be grateful for the life that poetry has given me, a life I couldn’t have predicted when I was younger

GER: Tell us of your New York experience, how it impacted your work and about your return to Minnesota?

PD: I don’t think it changed my work–my aesthetic, my work habits–at all but it did me give me some new material for poems. The result was my book of postcard sonnets.  I went there simply to learn what it was like to be a resident of that great city.  I’d been there many times over the years, starting with summers when my mother and I took a Greyhound bus from St. Louis to visit relatives in New York, where my mother was born.  I trained there one summer for the Peace Corps, in 1963.  I had been there to give readings.  I always knew it as an outsider and wanted to know it from the inside.  I discovered, contrary to what many people think, that it is a very livable city.  I must quickly confess, however, my apartment was on the Upper West Side, which is not typical of all New York.  I always said I lived in the greatest neighborhood in the greatest borough in the greatest city in the world.  My reasons for returning to Minnesota were multiple and complicated, involving my partner (her reluctance to live full-time there), my loyalty (sentimental or not) to the Midwest and Minnesota (coming full-circle back to the Mississippi, originally in St. Louis,
now in Minneapolis), the voice of my working-class upbringing guilting me for a certain uppitiness, my having stopped exploring the city and fallen into a pattern of narrowly focussing on my neighborhood (a cornucopian one but still a small part of the whole city), the consideration of where I wanted to spend my last years, and the accomplishment of my three goals (to have a post-retirement adventure, to learn what living in the city was like, and to write a book about New York).  Becoming a permanent resident wasn’t an explicit goal, though the possibility wasn’t initially ruled out either.

mosquitoGER: Your collection, Mosquito Operas, was released in 2010. How did this project come about?

PD: The publisher of that book, Rain Mountain Press, was also the publisher of the earlier book of New York postcard sonnets; at one point they said they wanted to do another book, and after thinking of various options I decided that scattered throughout my work were a lot of short poems that maybe got lost in the crowd of other, longer pieces.  And of course there’s a long tradition of short poems from classical epigrammatists to Basho and company and up to the Imagists. After such big projects of mine as the Hopkins and Eakins books, working with the new and selected short poems felt like a playground to me.

 

gimme-fiveGER: Gimme Five was released in 2013. What was the inspiration for the development of this collection?

PD: I had previously published two chapbooks of such poems, each with five stanzas and five lines per stanza.  It’s a format I fell into early and have frequently returned to over the years.  I decided it was time to make a larger collection of the best of my 5×5 poems that hadn’t yet been included in any of my full-length books.  One chapbook was called Fives, the other Mr. Five-by-Five.  My very first published poem in 1967 in The Beloit Poetry Journal was such a fiver.  For me, a 5×5 poem lets me take a stand on a border between free verse and formalism–thus I call it a format rather than a form–though of course I also like wholly entering the territories on either side of the border and regularly do so.

p2GER: You live with your partner, the poet Alixa Doom by Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. You are both fine poets in your own right. What is it like to be in love with a fellow poet and do you inspire each other’s work?

PD: I’ve published a chapbook of poems Alixa inspired, The Adventures of Alixa Doom, and have since expanded it into a full-length book, The Complete Adventures of Alixa Doom and Other Love Poems, which has no publisher yet.  I’m happy to say that as two poets under one roof we are not competitive with each other but supportive, in the form of both general encouragement and regular critiquing of each other’s work.  We have significant differences as poets–the term “nature poet” would apply to Alixa but not to me (to my discredit, no doubt)–but they don’t interfere with our teamwork; rather, they provide occasions for affectionate teasing and banter.

GER: What poets inspired you or continue to inspire you and do you consider yourself to have a direct lineage to any of them?

PD: James Dickey was an early influence.  Before reading him, I was mainly interested in writing prose fiction (which I was terrible at).  He seemed to open the door to the possibilities of poetry for me.  Of
course, I was familiar with Hopkins, given my sixteen years of Catholic education, and a book of poems about him was the ultimate result.  My favorite living poet was Seamus Heaney; there are no words for the loss his death represents.  Another living poet?  I’m a fan of  Ashbery although he’s hardly like Heaney.  I’m at the place in my life generally and as a poet that I feel I should definitely read more dead poets than living ones; thus my re-reading of Eliot, as mentioned above.  There’s less time now to “keep up” with new voices than to listen to old ones.   I wouldn’t presume to include myself in any literary lineage; I see my fate as that of compost in the vineyard where great writers have labored, a fate I’m happy to accept.

p4GER: Prior to your university education your received instruction from the Incarnate Word nuns and Jesuit priests. You were a Peace Corps Volunteer and have traveled to such various places as Africa, Asia and Europe. How has this impacted your writing and your life?

PD: I believe I received a good sixteen-year education from the nuns and priests and am grateful to them for that.  Part of my education was Latin; five years of it, and I even taught Latin for a year in Nigeria as part of my Peace Corps stint there (just what developing West Africa needed, right, Latin?).  In fact, I think my years with Latin have been a plus for my writing as a poet.  For a sense of both etymology and syntax.  I tend to be what I call a grammar Nazi.  I owe that to the Jesuits.  As to travel, I’ve written poems about all the continents you mention, so my jaunts have certainly given me material.  It occurs to me, now that you get me thinking about it, that all my travelling connects in some way to my eclecticism, for both as reader and writer I tend to be “all over the map.”   But now after so much  travelling, capped by my eight years in Manhattan, I’m feeling travelled-out..  Time to take stock ?  Time to give considered attention to the needs of the home stretch?

GER: What projects are you currently working on?

PD: I’ve written and published a book’s worth of poems on Walt Whitman and am currently looking for a publisher for that.  Also, the New York publisher who produced my New York poems and the collection of short ones wants to do another collection of mine, and I’m in the process of putting together a book of–unlike my last five books–miscellaneous poems.   The last five all had a special focus: Thomas Eakins, New York, short poems, sonnets, and 5×5 poems.  My last miscellany–The Paramour of the Moving Air, a Quarterly Review of Literature book–was 15 years ago, so my problem has been selecting from among all the poems I published during that time; too many to choose from; maybe a nice problem to have but still a challenge.  I’m something of a factory–I like to joke that the E. P. A. has threatened to shut me down–and always wince to recall Stevie Smith’s crack: “Mediocre poets publish every day of the week and twice on Sunday.”

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The poetry of Philip Dacey is forthcoming in the Winter 2014 edition of The Fox Chase Review. Previous work has appeared at this link in The Fox Chase Review. http://www.foxchasereview.org/11WS/PhilipDacey.html and http://www.foxchasereview.org/11AW/PDacey.html

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g emil reutter bw almost uptown poetry cartel 2g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa.
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Gimme Five- Poems by Philip Dacey

Gimme FivePaperback: 74 pages

Publisher: 1st World Publishing (February 8, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1421886618

ISBN-13: 978-1421886619

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Review by: g emil reutter

Philip Dacey is a quiet and subtle poet. In his latest collection, Gimme Five, Dacey weaves images and words from his life and middle America throughout the collection. If there were a Poet Laureate for middle America, Philip Dacey would surely be at the top of the list. He is above all a realist whose poetry reflects who he is and where he came from coupled with a fine use of language.

Gimme Five, winner of the Blue Light Press Poetry Prize, gains its title from Dacey’s use of 5 stanzas of 5 lines each that he calls 5X5. The poems date from 1975 to the second decade of this new century. Dacey describes his use of this format as similar to a sculptor’s standard armature of which one can build up an unlimited variety of shapes and configurations.

For example, the poem Rosary, he describes the beads in the first and second stanzas as:

So many mad ants/ forming a loop, my childhood’s/black border/ This is all about the fingertips/how a god can be held thus.

No, a lariat to twirl/at a religious rodeo/lovers’ toy for trying wrists/found object d’art to drape/over Duchamps urinal.

Ending with:

The Crucifix at one end/is like a river’s source/to which the river returns/Hand-warmer in the casket/Girdle abandoned by the bride.

Dacey weaves images around an object in a refreshing, original manner.

Her Fingers, is a sweet and loving poem to his mother who was a secretary in the age of typewriters he ends with:

…I have my mother’s hands and fingers/ their dance on the top of letter/like a pair of tap-dancing feet/the bare ones on hot coals/getting everything said/before the soles burn up 

In Homage to John Ashberry, Dacey hits stride in the middle of the poem:

Familiar words/strange now//with odd protuberances/and little dents/To take notice anew/is to remember the chainsaw-like

Danger of language. To build or destroy. Whose fingers that/ in the dirt? Lay your tongue lightly/ athwart the tasty metal of syllables/lest in the cold your skin stick. 

You can get the book here: http://www.amazon.com/GIMME-FIVE-Philip-Dacey/dp/1421886618/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366282154&sr=1-3&keywords=philip+dacey

g emil reutter– g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia

Best of the Net Nominations by The Fox Chase Review

Our  nominations for Best of the Net

Poetry:

José by Michelle Cahill – http://www.foxchasereview.org/11June/MichelleCahill.html 

“E” is for Eakins by Philip Dacey – http://www.foxchasereview.org/11AW/PDacey.html 

Trying on Death by Leslie Ann Mcilroy- http://www.foxchasereview.org/12WS/LeslieAnneMcilroy.html 

the home by D. B. Cox- http://www.foxchasereview.org/12WS/DBCox.html 

I Go Back to a House Party in 1979 by Stevie Edwards http://www.foxchasereview.org/12SU/StevieEdwards.html

Praia Do Titan by Jennifer Wong – http://www.foxchasereview.org/11AW/JWong.html

Prose:

Boxing Up Martin by Natalia Cherjovsky- http://www.foxchasereview.org/12WS/NataliaCherjovsky.html

Sanctuary by Russell Reece – http://www.foxchasereview.org/12SU/RussellReece.html

Recommended Reading for National Poetry Month

An eclectic list of 20 poetry collections you may want to have a look at during National Poetry Month compiled by g emil reutter

What Space This Body by J.C. Todd

Marginalia: Poems from the Old Irish by Louis McKee

Images of Being by Diane Sahms Guarnieri

Crawlers by Nathalie Anderson

The Holy Grail: Charles Bukowski & the Second Coming Revolution by A.D. Winans

Dhaka Dust: Poems by Dilruba Ahmed

Street Psalms by James D. Quinton

The Alphabet (Modern & Contemporary Poetics) by Ron Silliman

The Accidental Cage by Michelle Cahill

Good Grief by Stevie Edwards

Love & Lust by The Hong Kong Writers’ Circle

Pointing at the Moon by Bill Wunder

jambandbootleg by Paul Siegell

The 3 Faces of Brahman by Christine O’Leary-Rockey

Chianti in Connecticut by  Gil Fagiani

Mosquito Operas by Philip Dacey

A Series of Small Boxes by Thomas Devaney

Spring Apples Silver Birch by B.E. Kahn

I Want to Make You Safe by Amy King

Identity Papers by Jeffrey Ethan Lee

 

The 11th Edition of The Fox Chase Review is now on line

The 11th Edition of   The Fox Chase Review is now on line

Poetry by:

Lester Mobely, David Harris Ebenbach, Ditta Baron Hoeber, Travis Jeppesen , Breonna Krafft, Philip Dacey , Jim Cronin, Rebecca Schumejda, Ashley-Elizabeth Best, Kirsten Kaschock, Jennifer Wong,  Jose Angel Araguz

Fiction by:

Jenny Kingsley, Amy Bergen, Peter Tieryas Liu