I'd never met Steve Halle nor had I encountered his work before we read together tonight, at the invitation of Larry Sawyer, at Myopic Books in Chicago. Steve is 30 years old, lives and is a doctoral student in southern Illinois, and is very active as a poet (he has several books and chapbooks), blogger (I count 4 blogs he runs or is part of), and all-around person of mind and letters. One of his blogs, Fluid/Exchange, has lots of interesting material on it, including critiques of ongoing online discussions in the blogosphere, links to his reviews and poems in print and audio form, readings of various essays and ideas, and much more. The poems he read tonight were often funny, wrestled successfully with their influences, offered rich sonorities and polysemous pleasures, and, at the start, were decidedly scatalogical, though he ended with a poem that, in addition to being positively Platonic in its engagement with the body and its fluids also, I mentioned to him afterwards, struck me as embodying many of the ideas currently animating the conversations in the now-trendy cognitive neuroscience and studies/evolutionary biology wings of English and American literary studies. It was one of those seemingly simple, but actually quite complex productions that poets--artists--can pull off that anticipate, by years, decades, centuries, what scholars will finally come up with. Such is art, and such was Steve Halle. I'm looking forward to reading more of his work soon.
Here's one of Steve's poems, from the online journal Milk Magazine, Vol. 9:
Before his first steps, he’s off again
funnels of rock smoke charnels of purse. this venus arm found alack a hand in pumice. "fuck you" besmirches the monument but "if" is monumental. spit smears to wipe words an "it if" the missing arms about me. what Stuart Dybek's rough tumble tangible Chicago nay-say air ozone alert black steel rumbles in waves of snodgrass? how about melanomic mornings at no-nose cafe? another cup supple bubble incarnation the beast lives thanks to guitar and compact trashes styrofoam and sudden infant death sesame street. glasses are drug enough the arms of the valley launch as wisps of orange zest in smoke. or sawdust yields to flame. syndrome: the plague of the death sculptor in reverie embalms everything covered in silvers and grays. sunset crater storeroom or portrait profoundly addicted to asleep the outstretched arms of a minor goddess. he lifts St. John of the Cross up to the tree twelve or so nights ago he feasts venus she sleeps. the usual distance from subject the camera attache briefcase spyglass hill walks the long view dimple the longest ball. listen to the smells of subway greats. buskers deal the death of masses for coins etc. or night amasses. pentagraphic videos fingers walk with keys the ivory box my coffin my hand up from the swirls and froths he disbelieves my ship aflight my fools in the hold. charnel house the high sierra void and breakdown bluegrass banjo the handless lover of fire in the airport en post en route. the hunger of desert or maelstrom siren tune to heavy arms so over whatever and out slash off. snow altho beatified while happening rug burns and after a broken arm no venus to rise midmorning nothing for my periscope hand or her telescope love or god sodden eyes over microscope, discovery! live at the five spot seven nights.
copyright © Steve Halle, in Milk, 9, 2010. All rights reserved.