by Matthew Henriksen
Softcover / 120 p. / Poetry / $14.95
Henriksen opens Ordinary Sun by insisting that “an eye is not enough.” Resisting solipsism, these poems negotiate that conflict between the mind and what exists outside the mind. Though pain intrinsically resides in that conflict Henriksen strives for an honest happiness, a kind of gorgeous suffering that blesses our days. To this end, these poems emerge from images of all those innumerable things that embody both visceral and ethereal beauty—rocks, trees, broken glass, baseball, angels… Here we find immediacy immersed in the image, and in the reading of these poems becomes ourselves immersed in the immediate.
Praise for Ordinary Sun:
“Henriksen's debut is one of the most striking collections from a small press this year... Like Frank Stanford before him, Henriksen's project is one of building a mythology around the self in which the walls that separate speaker and poet break down... Henriksen forges an individual poetics using a voice that seeks to define the world around it with highly lyrical, demanding--and rewarding--language.”
“If T.S. Eliot and Gram Parsons were both dug up and placed in the same small room with just a bottle of whiskey, Fox News and a couple of angels for company, the only contemporary poet they would bother fighting over would be Matthew Henriksen, their prodigal son. What rough age has bore us, I wonder, that we so need Matthew Henriksen's cruel kind of song? If he doesn't let up, they'll probably end up naming him the poet laureate of something and staple the names of the dead to his chest.”
“Could attention be a form of violence? Matt Henriksen’s speaker tests the surface of things as with a knife-blade, learning its tensile qualities, trying to do no harm. He confronts Nature’s cipher, its true face and its false face, its audible face and its ocular face, its adorned face and its blank face. This is metaphysical inquiry wherein the smallest unit opens on the largest, something on nothing, the living on the dead.”