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Vincent Katz reads from Southness

I was immediately drawn to Vincent Katz’s new book of poems, Southness, by the beauty of its cover, which comes from a painting by the artist Etel Adnan from a work called Untitled, 2014. Southness reminds me of paintings. The poems are carefully laid out on the page and they sound as good as they look when you hear Vincent read them. It took a little while to have him come over to read from Southness because I had a bit of a hectic spring, but the waiting was worth it.

I typed out four of the poems to get a better feel for them, stanzas I noticed in different numbers of lines, uniform and yet going from poem to poem not, and no punctuation at the end of a line, which is something I aim for myself; the end of a line is end enough for that breath before continuing on to the next. Two of the poems Vincent reads and two of them he doesn’t—I’ve added The Moon and The Pond for an extra look—they are all landscapes, city and country ones waiting to be read and walked through kind of like one would into a canvas.

These poems are explorations; as Vincent writes in the last poem that Art’s endless fascination seen over and over makes ever better sense:

You can look at it all day,
it does not shrink, become
less delicious, fact
of temperature’s time.


Camden

to the park
down
to the fitted granite
wall
the stream empties
out in falls

by the dinghies


Over Cleveland

Look at those mountains
Things come out wrong

Broad, untroubled land
Below itself spread

Far as eye can see
Flat peace given

By lights, deep band
Orange thick sunset

All that order, calm
At a price arranged


The Moon

Suddenly, its visage appeared
Towering over us, yellow
In the mists, moon
Bright because of the sun

Follows us in the air, rises
Howls yellowly, our son
Asks and tells how it shnes
In the darkness it rises until

Shrouded no more but
Accrues in blackness
A terrible force, pulls
Us alone through longing


The Pond

Art’s endless fascination,
as children’s cartoons, seen
over and over, makes
ever better sense

You can look at it all day,
it does not shrink, become
less delicious, fact
of temperature’s time.

At the end, a wind
in the poplars, and it
is time. We can
make no other.


Southness is published by Lunar Chandelier Press. Check them out here:

https://lunarchandelier.blogspot.com/

 

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Vincent, Alex and Ada Katz with Bob Holman, Anselm Berrigan, Pam Dick and Mónica de la Torre. Photo by Lawrence Schwartzwald.

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