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Brenda Coultas reads from The Writing of an Hour

The poems in The Writing of an Hour happen as the words happen. Now anyone might ask, “Isn’t that obvious?” But what I mean to say is that these poems with their words in the right combinations are written so explicitly in the present, that I see what the poet sees as she writes it. I sometimes felt like I was hallucinating, a thoughtful gentle illuminating focus looking clearly at each word in the sequence that it’s read. What can I tell you? Perhaps The Writing of an Hour should come with a warning: These contemplations, these meditations, these observations of time and place can make you high. Read them at your own risk.

I went over to record Brenda Coultas at her apartment on East Second Street a few weeks ago. I’d been there years before and remembered a party packed with people. Now, I noticed across the street was the bucolic NYC Marble Cemetery, which I’ve always envied and admired in passing over the years. I wish I had such silent neighbors; where I live at 9th Street and Avenue C, everyone’s alive and loud. 

In the Vimeo below, Brenda Coultas reads thirteen poems from The Writing of an Hour. Thirteen is a lucky number. Be here now. Enjoy.



The Writing of an Hour is in five sections: “The Writing of an Hour,” “A Channel of Soft Earth,” “Journal of Places,” “Inside the Cabin,” and “Mortal Beauty.”

On the spur of the moment, I’ve typed out a short poem from “The Channel of Soft Earth” called “Mercy.”

Body weight against wood
I have come upon a door and pushed
with all my might into a cascade of
splinters and worms

And here from “Inside the Cabin” is “Riding in a New Car.”

Riding in a new car is like climbing the devil’s tower. The car tastes like luxury coffee and exiting through the passenger side like shopping with credit cards of platinum. We ride and talk trying to catch a glimpse of the devil’s nest; it is like returning to a beehive but of human voices, and it stings to be near language.

I scanned four poems from the first section, “The Writing of an Hour,” which ought to give the reader a feel for the direction in which this enjoyable book is going to go.




The Writing of an Hour is published by Wesleyan University Press. You can check it out here:



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