Poet R.J. McCaffery reads from his new book last night at GULC.

Poet R.J. McCaffery (aka, the Scoplaw) reads from his new book, Ice Sculpture of Mermaid With Cigar, last night at GULC. The reading was excellent; it was sheer joy to just sit back, relax, and let the language of the poems fill the room and your mind. R.J. is a great reader and an excellent poet. I got there a little early and bought a copy of the book to snack on before the reading started. I read three or four random poems, chosen by how loudly their titles called to me from the table of contents, and then had the very pleasant experience of hearing R.J. begin his reading with those very same poems! Favorites for me included, “ Causes of Death in London, 1632,” “How To Move for Love,” “Expedient Mechanics,” “Lahar” and “The Great Molasses Flood” (an odd pair of unusual flood narratives), and “Watching a Former Lover Make Tea.” But my very favorite was one of the poems on poetry called “For Hannah.” I love it because it includes the vivid image off “the persistent unhappiness of the moon,” (the idea of that!), and because of its beautiful and demanding conclusion. “People use so many words they do not know”—indeed! R.J.'s poems demonstrate that he works hard to know the words he uses as well as he can, which is what makes reading them—and even better, hearing them—such a joy.

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