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Richard Loranger reads from Mammal

I agree with the poet Yuko Otomo when she writes that the poems in Richard Loranger’s new book, Mammal, are “written in direct & humble language & with the most personal & natural breath.” Nothing truer has ever been said. There is an honesty in these poems that disarm the reader from the get go and make the going, even when uncomfortable, comfortable. The poem that follows is a good example:

There is


One sunny Sunday afternoon late last autumn when they were visiting New York City—Richard Loranger stopped by to let me record them reading from Mammal including their tour de force, “Mud Song.” A video from that afternoon and three poems follow. Enjoy.


It may not be light

that we’re looking for, you know,
or looking at for that matter. How do we see
what we need to see? Life for instance—
what prana spans the machines we stare at ceaselessly
harking nuclei, clanking clocks, as avatars
while the living slip through sight unhumanized and bold,
and we know nothing that we cannot frankly be.
Oh the humility, sheer gut-strung lack
that if we’re lucky, if we strip our lovelorn minds,
lets us see the underglow at last—
bottoms-up, whirling, world inside-out,
every little thing a thing no more but
thankfully preciously flux gaunt and clarified
as honey catapulting through our pores.


A naked tree can tell us everything:
chained to the earth, grappling with sky,
we flaunt our imperfections in the rain
as budding eyes. Craven and verklempt,
it’s all we can to writhe, stolidly, fatefully
arching vesicles toward luscious liquid,
saturated air, toward instant light.
And in the wind, twisting, clattering arms,
we find the flexibility of heart
to wind us for the true imbroglio,
the quickening. Oh yes, you know you know:
what roots you have, not disparate, reclaim
the mortal trunk we have and have again,
pulled upward, out, beyond our living ken.

Samara Samsara

leaves the tit for oblivion, off into
whatever it is, don’t fuck with me
I know your words are fatuous,
how free she feels, unbound
and flowing like life—is it a moment,
is it eternity—breathes all the air
as it breathes her, nothingness mama,
forever ash and seed, winged womb,
matriarch—you sing a well-wrung tithe
that rings us as the elm rings itself,
staying a moment, then leaving, staying, then
we all ask at once: how can we live with vicissitude,
how can we plunge into dark, how can we be
while sliding away, how can we be at all?
Don’t tell me what I am. You’re wrong.



Mammal was published by Roof Books. Check it out here:




You can check out and learn more about Richard Loranger here:



Richard Loranger

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