John Oliver Hodges’ Comments

I discovered the joy of poetry writing on New Yearís Day, 2006. Jesse and I popped a bottle of champagne and said ďWhat the hell, letís write poems.Ē We were living in Alaska, and were snowed in. Our apartment was cramped as all get up, the size of a large bathroom. Jesse didnít much take to it, but for the next hundred days I wrote at least a poem a day. I consider the act a type of recreation, like taking pictures of nature, or building a snowman.

Three of these poems are about our lives in Alaska, when we would climb into the mountains in search of adventures and lonely places. Iíll never forget my wifeís loveliness behind those six-foot-long icicles, how it looked like the mountain had sharp teeth and was eating her for lunch. Iíll not forget the sad women weeping silent tears while gazing at frozen waterfalls, nor my Kaagwaantaan colleague whose autobiography I read with such relish. These poems trace the shapes of my memory. They are selfish.

Writing poetry is like dumpster diving, something fun to do, a selfish act that leads to more fun, being the food you donít buy translates to money in the bank, or time that you can use for hiking through the woods or playing guitar with others. One poem is called ďIcon in Green.Ē This is all about my beloved dumpster. I love rolling around in garbage. I like the feel of decomposing vegetable matter against my skin, and the smell. It reminds me of how little time I have left, and therefore makes me happy, not because we all are in the process of dying, but for the attention it draws to the greatness of each heartbeat.

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