This week’s poetry pick is Kelli Russell Agodon’s Hourglass Museum. From the opening poem (“Dear Serious Museum Patrons”) through the book’s four sections (Portraits, Sketchbook of Nudes, Ink and Watercolor, and Current Exhibition: Her Invented Museum), Kelli offers us a compendium of ekphrastic poems, with poetry as art and art as life and life as art.
I love the way this book is all of a piece, all of a project, how it hangs together (even if that’s a bad pun). I love the recurring images–the sax, the parrot, the cliffs, a painting of the moon–and the way the poems in the Nudes section are stripped bare. I love the confidence of her voice even as she’s confessing her insecurities, her regrets, which become really the brushstrokes of a life lived fully. As someone with many insecurities, I feel like I’ve met a kindred spirit who has elevated anxiety into art.
For a quick trip to the museum, you can download and read two poems from The Human Journal site. But for the blender poem (“Mural of a Writing Residency or The Best Part about Manet’s ‘Dead Matador’ is the Bull”) or “Woman Under Glass,” pick up a copy of the book.