National Poetry Month: Simon Perchik from Hands Collected

Today for National Poetry Month, I read Simon Perchik’s poem (untitled) from Hands Collected, published at Pavement Saw Press:



Over the years, I’ve had numerous conversations with other poets, and more than often, Simon’s name is mentioned. His poems are staggering in volume, unique in voice and perspective, jarring, earthly devoted, and remarkably lovely.

As a nod to his oeuvre, I constructed a poem, utilizing only the first lines of a Simon Perchik poem, including the title (also, a Perchik first line). Here is the entire poem:

They were reaching for their mother’s breath

Wherever I turn the air needs water

and in the dark my pillow, abandoned

stone, stone, stone, not a drop

again, the sky rubbing against my legs

all the pieces must be found, make

this cup half ecstasy, half adrift

With those hefty walls a bank

even this tree :a stranglehold

And the dead can’t wait, they crouch

as if its stream would slow

What a long way- they know

this bridge as if before its crash

(all words excerpted from Simon Perchik’s Hands Collected: The Books of Poems (1949-1999)

(only first lines used to construct entire poem, including title)

And today, April 8th, I read Simon Perchik for National Poetry Month:

Robert Vaughan reads Simon Perchik’s poem, * from Hands Collected – YouTube

When is the last time you took a train? Had an unexpected picnic? Read a poem that took your breath away?





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