Poetry 365

January 28, 2012

Poet Troy Jollimore

This month for Poetry 365 we’re highlighting Troy Jollimore’s eagerly awaited follow-up to his acclaimed debut Tom Thomson in Purgatory, winner of the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award.  In At Lake Scugog, the California State University professor continues his exploration of age-old philosophical questions in clever, flexibly formal verse that includes 14 new sonnets featuring his neurotic title character.  Witty, eccentric, and vulnerable, this engaging collection is further proof that Jollimore is “an utterly fresh, original voice” in American poetry.  So check out this stellar sophomore collection, sample a poem below, and make sure to stop back next month for Poetry 365.

The Solipsist

Don’t be misled:
that sea-song you hear
when the shell’s at your ear?
It’s all in your head.

That primordial tide-
the slurp and salt-slosh
of the brain’s briny wash-
is on the inside.

Truth be told, the whole place,
everything that the eye
can take in, to the sky
and beyond into space,

lives inside of your skull.
When you set your sad head
down on Procrustes’ bed,
you lay down the whole

universe. You recline
on the pillow: the cosmos
grows dim. The soft ghost
in the squishy machine,

which the world is, retires.
Someday it will expire.
Then all will go silent
and dark. For the moment,

however, the black-
ness is just temporary.
The planet you carry
will shortly swing back

from the far nether regions.
And life will continue-
but only within you.
Which raises a question

that comes up again and again,
as to why
God would make ear and eye
to face outward, not in?

Russell J. (Readers’ Services)

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