Joe Hall’s “Post Nativity”

by | Dec 29, 2011 | Behind the Scenes

A few weeks ago I heard Joe Hall read a long poem called “Post Nativity” at the Benevolent Armchair series here in Baltimore. It struck me as a cavalcade at the time, a declarative poem along the lines of Ginsberg’s Howl. It has a bit of the sacred, a little of the consumer wasteland, a touch of terrorism. Stunned, it marvels:

I brushed aside the pale saucers of
Blossoms to shoot my piece at the unadvertisable colors
Of the hurtling sky, I climbed into a pickup truck bed and tore off
The crickets’ work rising: mezzo piano to way too fucking

Later, more terrifying:

Make me your pen, your two turntables and a microphone
Your air raid siren, your silence, the IED
Detonated, my brain slammed against my skull, Beast
Make me your staff, your sword, your brick, your bottle, your rod
You stacked me in a pile of other bodies, you took pictures

It’s an extremely powerful poem, so after the reading I asked Joe to send it to me. He did. I read it.

At 900 words, it’s about 1/3 the length of Easter Rabbit, which at PGP counts as a full collection (and ER is currently being reprinted, but more on that another time). But Post Nativity is a chapbook through and through. It’s what chapbooks were invented for.

When Joe emailed it to me, it was in three sections, spanning across a page and a half. Now it’s still in three sections, but the chapbook is 16 pages long. It’s 5.5 x 5″. Stephanie Barber is working on the cover, then: boom — it will be yours for the taking. We’re making a limited edition of 100 copies and will release an online version at the same time.

Stay tuned for details on the release. Sign up for the mailing list on the upper right corner of this page for updates.