D. Eric Parkison – “Country Song”

In Contest, Finalists - 2011, Poetry on November 16, 2011 at 4:35 pm

D. Eric Parkison was born in upstate New York, near Lake Ontario. He received his MA in English from the University of Rochester in 2009. Since then, he’s relocated to San Francisco, where he lives with his partner, Stephanie, a photographer, and their dog, Abby, a tyrant. He has work published or forthcoming in Conte: An Online Journal of Narrative Poetry, Caesura, and Pirene’s Fountain. He is currently working on a manuscript tentatively titled Home. He is also working with a group of poets on a vlog project that you can find [here]

Twitter handle: N/A

Know the Poet:

GSLR: Favorite Poet(s) –
It’s hard to pick favorite poets. For the past two years I’ve been enraptured by the work of Frank Bidart, who is definitely one of my favorites. Jorie Graham and Bin Ramke are poets whose attitude towards what poetry can be I admire very much.

GSLR: The last book of poetry you enjoyed –
I’ve been working my way through Robert Hass’ new selected poems, The Apple Trees at Olema. No one I’m aware of makes the politics of our time read so timelessly, and with such moral weight.

GSLR: Themes you usually write about –
I tend to be a biographical writer, and I use bits of memory from my childhood, or from my experiences to explore larger themes. I’m attracted to writing about working people, and I have a few poems that I would consider, if not working-class, working class conscious poems. I want to make work that honors the physicality, the labor, the pressures and strains experienced by people whose lives are (I hope to add the weight to this term that Judith Butler gives it in her newest works) precarious.

GSLR: If you didn’t write poetry you would…
For a long time I’ve been involved in DIY punk music. I’ve played drums in a few bands and was the vocalist for one short lived hardcore act. The two approaches to an art of language don’t stand in opposition to each other, though there are generic differences that I found satisfying. Trying to control language and move a poem forward through developing momentum and rhythm is different than having what punk kids call “the fast beat” behind you. With the already-created momentum of those rhythms, it’s satisfying to be direct, controversial, angry. Regardless, I’m hardly ever satisfied unless I’m in a position to express the things I feel.

GSLR: 2 poems you enjoyed reading in GSLR –
I was a student, for a too-brief time of MJ Iuppa, and was excited to see her poems on Golden Sparrow. More than that, though, I was excited to see that she’d taken a new direction, best represented by the prose poem, “Commitment.” The brief paragraph is enthralling. I’m a big fan of narrative in poetry, and the short tale told with such precision, here, is awesome. Keith Higgenbottom’s experimental poetry stands out, and I’m not sure I like it or hate, which, in a sort of metacritical way, means I like it. I’m currently reading Ron Silliman’s The New Sentence, so Language Poetry, poems that explicitly take language as their medium and materials hold a certain amount of intrigue for me.


Country SongEric Parkison

I.  Spell

Burdock. Litany of hooks; listing vessel,
Cowards smile.


Filth in the drain. In-gasping. Shock of cold water.

Guilt. The slack of a ratchet strap taken in hand, pulled
Taut, Morse code of the handle – over,

Back, over.

II.  Chant

Clouds flow through air, and we, on backs, admire
The neatness of their billowing:

Like silt, under water,
Weighty smoke pouring
From the bottom of our fists.

Detritus of the earth,
We chant.

Corn silk. Corn stalk. Lover’s body.

Small net in the well retrieving the drowned owl.
Undulation of a grain field, browning in fall.

Abandoned house. Dirt-floored basement,
Corner datestone.

Leathery ghosts, the bird
Flutters on the porch, dropping,

Lifting along an invisible line.
The feathery plunk as it strikes the closed windows.

Dumb hope, or desperation, or apotheosis
Of failing. A miss-cast fishhook
Sets in the dog’s front paw, and she
Yelps, and her eyes mourn.

A Firework goes off early, blinding:
Afraid, we laugh.

Eric Parkison’s Country Song is the Golden Sparrow Poetry Prize 2011 Finalist. ‘Country Song’ has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2012 and Best of the Net in 2012 (Sundress Publication) by our editors.

  1. Love this poem

  2. […] 4)      D. Eric Parkison – “Country Song” […]

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