Saturday, February 16, 2008

Aaron Belz at Wheaton

Writer Aaron Belz will visit Wheaton on Tues., Mar 4 for a dinner reading at 5:30. Author of several books of poems, most recently The Bird Hoverer , Aaron's work has appeared widely in print and online, including such cutting edge journals as Jacket, Exquisite Corpse, and McSweeneys.

Belz combines a deep commitment to language play with an equal reverence for the work a poem can do. Poet Denise Duhamel has called him "a gravely hilarious poet" and Jacket writes that "Aaron Belz is out to get you. Get you thinking, get you laughing, get you good." As part of his commitment to poetry, Belz has cultivated a premier reading series in St. Louis, where he lives and teache. He also writes essays and reviews for a variety of publications, including Books & Culture and St. Louis Magazine among many others.

Here's a kind of funky notional ekphrasis, Belz's poem "A Photo of Me When I Was Forty":

Recently I stumbled across this old
photo of me when I was forty.
In the background you can see
the animal hospital where I worked at the time.
The weird thing about this photo
(and believe me, I've tried to solve this)
is that I am thirty-four years old
and have never worked at an animal hospital.
However, I remember this moment clearly:
See the smudge on my hand?
A stamp from a show the night before.
(I mean, from some six years hence.)
And the woman clinging to me, laughing,
I met her years ago, even longer ago
in this futuristic photo, in which she's twenty six
(twenty today and dating someone else).

A few additional links
An interview with Belz.
One of his recent essays, Family Business
Review of Adam Kirsch's The Wounded Surgeon

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