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Poet's Sampler: Lee Ann Brown

Pleasure is the subject of Lee Ann Brown's poetry. Pleasure in the craft and anti-craft of poem making. Pleasure in the vocalizing and harmonizing of voice and text--speech and writing. Giddy recombinings. Flirtatious collaborations. Irreverent anagrams. To paraphrase Lee Ann's version of her own poetic genealogy: enthusiasm is the mother ("We are the daughters of enthusiasm"), excitement the sister ("Where are my excitement sisters"). Sappho, Emily Dickinson, and Gertrude Stein are among the many innovative godmothers who grace her work with their influential kisses. As a woman writer myself, I am grateful to Lee Ann for the way she unabashedly connects gender to knowledge. In her poems, knowing is knowing as a woman. Knowledge is pleasure. The life of the mind is refreshingly erotic. What was once deemed too trivial here shines.

Polyverse is the very apt title of Lee Ann Brown's first collection of poems, which won the New American Poetry Prize and is forthcoming from Sun & Moon Press this fall. Bringing together many styles and schools of thought, from the Metaphysical to the Language poets, it will establish her as one of the most adventurous, confident and interesting of today's experimental writers. A poet deeply intoxicated with language, yet one whose high energy makes her aware of the limits of the merely literary. Or as one of her poems puts it: "Words / weren't enough for her. / She often made / high cat cries / and danced hard / on the blue carpet."

--Eliane Equi

This page is sponsored in part by Utah State University Press and the May Swenson Poetry Award Series.


Poems by Lee Ann Brown

Bodies Can Move This Way

Resistance Play

After Sappho



"A Bird Flew By With A Vowel In Its Beak"

To Bed

No Melpomene

Bodies Can Move This Way

Very fast like a car or waterfall
Absence gap for stored-up music
Evidence for the stolen nonce
Your trick is all to the good

Our planetary hour
takes jumps
Drop it doesn't mean stop

The fixed will fly perpetually
in the blue hour some light reading

Silk nets are strongest
Morning glories grow best in poor soil
Music maker Fire tender

Photos stones
The air sign to burn
Time your desire and circumstance


Resistance Play

All I need is a little resistance
to come
to terms

All I need is to read you
And see how our poems differ
where they intersect

then fill in the blanks
for a new poem

Small daily
resistances insist
on the
corrosion of conformity

Re sister your self
as also an act of kindness to the others
who enjoy you

You who you pleasurably
enjoy your register of pleasure you


After Sappho

So many people
advised me against you.
How glad I am
we could not resist.



Ice Tea
Cream corn
Fried okra
plus one meat



I pledge allergy to the flail of the United States of Amigo.
And to the reputation for which it stands,
one national park, under godmother, indivisible,
with lice and kabob for allegiance.

I pledge allegory to the flagellant of the United Statistic of Ammunition.
And to the reproduction for which it stands, one naughtiness,under good, indivisible,
with lick and juvenile for anatomy.

I pledge allelomorph to the flagelliform of the
United State-of-the-Art of American English.
And to the repudiation for which it stands, one nationalism, under go-getter, indivisible,
with library science and juvenile court for Alleluia.

On my hop, I will try
to serve Godmother, my coup de grâce,
and to live by the give-and-take scramble lawn.

On my hoodlum, I will try
to serve goose, my coupon,
and to live by the gladioli scrap heap laxative.

On my honors of war, I will try
to serve go-go dance, my country music,
and to live by the gizmo scowl lawyer.


"A Bird Flew By With A Vowel In Its Beak"

It was A, and A says O!
And O says Yes! Taste and see
What vowels have done to me.
My Aunt's spider. Web dress.
Easy living implies you. Even
The blues sings "I."

Etymologies of a kiss. Silent fire.
Also Algiers. Edge of a garment.
Rivermouth. Vocables. Blood of the word.
Grammar lessons its fits and starts.
Snatching chatter blows through the shifts.
Unlike the sacred. Telling. Like it is.

The unoriginal angel. A scratched back.
Willow mirrors deep song. The sound of her.
The middle of her, empty to hold. Everybody
can't be gotten away. Call and response.
Repetio Delecto. A folio in loco.
Notable logos stems euphony.

Simple economics denotes Rimbaud.


To Bed

We must to bed
kind to bed
kindly go to bed now
we must go to bed now
Please will you get in the bed
I'm in bed now and want you
with me in the bed now
Where are you oh you're in
bed now if I go to bed
you'll be there too
and that would be
the kindest thing
to the bed now
to bed


No Melpomene

Re: Lone poem, pen nomme
Pommel pope poop
Olé, Olé, Ol' Pop Pomp

Pelé mope
Mono men pole, lop me
One pen open poem

Peel 'em:
La Pomme, pome, pommelo

Moon pone molé


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