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Michael Earl Craig is the guest. His latest book, Talkativeness, is available now from Wave Books.
Craig renders unsettling dreams and quotidian clutter with sparse language and a quiet, distant voice to conjure poems brimming with the bizarre. His knack for the disturbing materializes in images from Dick Cheney being wheeled in á la Dr. Strangelove to President Obama’s inauguration, to a husband and wife witnessing ‘dark turkeys’ encroaching on their property, to a speaker declaring his penchant for vocational talent: ‘I have just very carefully cut/ my best friend’s wife’s bangs.’ Even the lighter elements of the book seem a bit foul, such as the quick cameo of Death from Ingmar Bergman’s Seventh Seal. This is the work of a writer who lives ‘in an experimental town’ where the 17 on-duty cops can only say, ‘That’s the way the cookie crumbles.’ If it’s the qualities of the macabre that lure the reader in, then it’s our inability to look away from the grotesque that drive us to continue reading. That inability to turn back, much like the advice Craig offers about catching horses, is what remains at the end of this read: ‘you can’t fake looking away, horses/ know when you are doing this./ You have to really look away./ Some horsemen never come out of this.’
Monologue topics: re-reading, Hunter S. Thompson, The Razor’s Edge, my bad memory, melatonin, nightmares, fear, superstition.