“There are three books by three different people that I can’t stop recommending. These are the books I read over and over again while writing Davie Street Translations (Talonbooks). The three books being Billeh Nickerson’s The Asthmatic Glassblower (Arsenal Pulp Press), Sina Queyras’ Expressway (Coach House Books), and Rachel Zolf’s Neighbourhood Procedure (Coach House Books). The three books may appear to have nothing in common except to be poetry titles, but they all provided different ways to break the rules of poetry books (or what I thought were rules) that gave me permission to do the same.
“First, Glassblower was a book that went into detail of the gay male experience, never turning away. Even the dildos being cleaned in the sink were left out on display. It let the language of gay male culture be just as prevalent as the themes, not trying to hide anything. Dildos! Second, Expressway challenged my understanding of conceptualism, and put forth this idea of lyrical conceptualism and a crafting of poems so specific and detailed it had me ask for the first time in a poetry book, ‘How the fuck did she do that?’ And third, Neighbourhood was a book that took conceptualism into this place that let poems play around and bounce. Each poem looking completely different in form every page you turn. A poetry book doesn’t need to fit into one style; it can flip and morph at every step along the way, and yet still carry a narrative.
“Three books by three wonderful poets. And I only mentioned dildos twice.”
Daniel Zomparelli is the Editor-in-Chief of Poetry Is Dead magazine. He is a co-podcaster at Can’t Lit. His first book of poems, Davie Street Translations, was published by Talonbooks. He’s currently working on After You, a collaborative poetry project; his collaborative book with Dina Del Bucchia, Rom Com, is forthcoming from Talonbooks in Fall 2015.