KWH Pick of the Week: “[when he comes he is neither sun nor shade: a china doll]” by D.A. Powell, Chosen by Carolyn Hembree

Posted on February 20, 2012


Knox Writers’ House Contributor’s Pick of the Week 2/20/2012

[when he comes he is neither sun nor shade: a china doll] by D.A. Powell in San Francisco, CA

Chosen by Carolyn Hembree in New Orleans, LA, who says:

the last song of cocktails, the final book in his trilogy. the person(a) of john the
divine on his (death)bed awaiting the bridegroom christ.

powell is one of my go-to poets. i read him to raise the stakes. the writing is savage,
robust, delicate. shakespeare’s gallows humor. the nerve of plath. the wordplay of
donne: the smartness, too. all of that. good powell “laying his sturdy bones”: the
long legs of each couplet, each anglo saxon caesura like joint and tendon, sense and

just to be sung to. not as the poet who echoes, i listen in darker moods for lark
at break of day. none sing like d.a. powell—the voice of a believer this apostate
can trust. the belief being hard won. even with each clod washed away by the sea.
listen. “when he speaks his voice is an island to rest upon.”

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