WHY POEMS CAN BE MORE LIKE PAINTINGS
The present murders us for the past
having barely grazed the word.
The word—a seagull, high against
the overcast sky, winking
like a fake mustache. It thinks
the factory is the sea. A river-
bed: great depths to receive, great
depths to give away. To the ocean.
Poetry | $12.00, perfect-bound paperback. 80 pages, published by Birds, LLC, 2010, ISBN: 9780982617704
Full of the will and the weather, that great skeptic Wallace Stevens walked to work and wrote his poems, poems you may well already love and believe. (Good, as they say, for you.) And as for Chris Tonelli, he walks in that integrity: read him, and be merciful unto yourself. His foot standeth in an even place. This book’ll make you bloom.
– Graham Foust
Chris Tonelli has to be one of the best young poets in the USA. The Trees Around is great— a singularly-gifted synthesis of intelligence and visual depictive skill. I’d do the usual blurb-bit of quoting some apt phrase from it in summary, but there are too many good ones to choose from. It’s filled with pleasing aspects. The book is brilliant and deserves the highest praise.
– Bill Knott
In The Trees Around, the poet-watcher delights in the dismantling motion of his eye and yearns to be released into the seen. The book vibrates white-noise silence, welling as an ancient lyricism like that of Li Po sitting with the mountain until only the mountain remains: “I was born/ without dreams; that’s the/ first step./ Then,/ to gather no material.” These poems are that fierce resonance “between the mask and face,” the “elusive reunion” their watcher reaches for.
– Ana Božičević
Chris Tonelli is the founder and co-curator of The So and So Series. He teaches at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where he lives with his wife Allison and their son Miles.