Otherwise Elsewhere: David Rivard Writes Love Poems–No, Really!

David Rivard - Otherwise ElsewhereI offer David Rivard’s new collection of poems Otherwise Elsewhere from Graywolf Press as part of a 6-step recovery program (yes, we poet-types are a bit too lazy for the usual twelve) on how to hazard wisdom in an age of the poetically glib:

  1. Use their words with impunity; hack them to deep rooted stumps that catch in the throat.
  2. Find a convincing swagger before breaking into a giddy song and dance number.
  3. If squeamish about the confessional, use a sharper scalpel and don’t be tentative.
  4. If you want “to be real in your soul”  “pee against the mossed bark of Juniper pine” (“How Else to Say It”).
  5. Fear not your “sadly stubborn heart (“Slightly More Alone”); it may be all we have to cover the “distance between us” (“Otherwise Elsewhere”).
  6. If you want to see how, in this cynical hell of contemporary poetry, its possible to end a poem by quoting Virgil and begin said poem with the simple declaration, “I love You,” read Rivard’s marvelous poem “Forehead;”  better yet, “cancel your appointment with faithlessness” (Master of the Offer”) and read the whole damn thing.