Editors Choice for the Transcontinental Award
Chosen by David Baratier
with a forward by Robert Creeley
Turning the pages of this first collection by Daniel Zimmerman there is a magnification of external reality that mimics myth, yet these poems only require living in the current world to be understood. A grandeur mixes with heroism, as the things that are not said, existing just off the viewable stage, project variously onto the reader's mind. There is an effect, call it old fashioned "yolking," or a correlation between the micro-cosm inside these poems and their global implications, but in either case, when we finish reading and look around, a gorgeous new order of natural complexity emerges.
...this world has shrunk to something approximating the backyard with the neighbor's tree blocking all the sun, the kids screaming, the barbecue rusted out, the dog barking in manic hysteria, and oneself plus beloved just sitting there, trying to keep even with that 'outside' which "leans in" on us, as Charles Olson said, forever. But "forever" is also gone, lost back there in the wake. Or it has become simply a qualification of what one will never oneself know, just another one of the "ten thousand and one things" which no longer seem to be around. So it's in that theoretic "here" these determinedly immaculate poems set to work-to particularize, to locate, almost to feel by literal hand the set and texture of the box into which we have driven our apparent lives.
what odysseus knew
stones don't remember their names.
metals forget, but not Excalibur.
viruses, hard to please, demand
the Golden Section. lines around the eyes,
bowstrings, limp, long for their bows;
strung, serenade suitors; drawn,
headstones remember, even the thin
Colonial slabs: licked salt, naked
slate. cenotaph: a friend, seen
from behind, blending
into the crowd, an enthymeme.
cartoon bubbles, blank, hover
precisely between then & here.
Daniel Zimmerman's work has also appeared in Mother, Anonym, Move (UK), Solstice (UK), himma, New York Quarterly, Io, Abiko Quarterly (Japan), Assembling, The Downtown Review, Institute of Further Studies Magazine, kenning, Chain, Tinfish, Pacific Northwest Spiritual Poetry and NMFG (Canada). In 1998, he invented a new poetic form, Isotopes. An example appears in An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art, edited by Annie Finch and Kathrine Varnes, Univ. of Michigan Press.