I didn’t consider repeating poets in the Saturday poetry pick. But after reading Gabrielle Calvocoressi’s first book, I couldn’t resist. And of course when I first heard the title, I thought swing dance. Then the cover should have clued me in, but the rope almost looked like a barre and dancers wrap–no, they tape their feet, not their hands.
Like The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, Apocalyptic Swing Poems punches hard. Gabrielle Calvocoressi doesn’t just look at difficult subjects–she steps inside them. The murder of Matthew Shepherd. Bombings of churches and a synagogue. The apocalypse. The fight for civil rights. And the swing–the training and the punching and the trade-offs to keep that life going. For me, maybe the most poignant is “Blues for Ruby Goldstein,” in which the poet in the fighter’s voice tells a story from his past that might explain his decisions so many years later as a ref, when he didn’t stop the fight sooner.
I’m sure I’m probably missing the big connections between the boxing and the bombings, between the swing and the apocalypse. A good reason to read the book again. In the meantime, I recommend Apocalyptic Swing Poems to you. For a sample, here’s “Boxers in the Key of M.”