This month for Poetry 365 we’re highlighting Rebecca Lindenberg’s highly anticipated debut Love, An Index. Praised by National Book Award winner Terrence Hayes for “recovering, reclaiming, and remaking the elegy form,” this one-of-a kind collection serves as Lindenberg’s memorial to her late partner Craig Arnold, an acclaimed poet who disappeared while hiking a Japanese volcano in 2009. At once plainspoken and uniquely musical, the volume stays fresh with forms both adopted and invented including prose poems, sparse free verse, and the lengthy title poem which appears as an index. Beautiful, fierce, humbling, and human, this first title in the newly minted McSweeney’s Poetry Series is simply not to be missed. So make sure to sample an “index” poem below and don’t forget to stop back next month for Poetry 365.
VANISH, dematerialize. Poof! How does one sail
to the land of vanished things? And what color
does your flag have to be to get back?
VOLCANOES, we visited many: Vesuvius looming over Naples
like a history of violence and Pompeii’s ash
packed around a man-shaped hollow. The perfect cone
of Stromboli. Cloud-forests sweating around Poas,
its caldera cupping an aquamarine lake of boiling acid.
Thira’s thin crescent rising from the sea. A Mexican church
half-submerged in basalt. A cobbled path of fractured granite
descending into the North Atlantic. I thought I understood
your longing — it looked so much like mine.
Golf (green), from Salt Lake City to Omaha in a day.
You were so angry because I’d stayed up late
the night before and couldn’t drive the first shift.
Later that summer, Duluth, Sault Sainte Marie,
Montreal, Marblehead. Harry Potter on tape,
your son asleep in the back with his feet on my lap
and his head resting on your guitar.
Golf (red), I could see you coming from so far
down the snowed-in road. Me at the bus station
freezing my ass off. You cranked the heat,
plucked off my wool cap, put your mouth over my ear.
VOW, I think as much now about the ones we failed to make