December 1, 2013

Poets You Should Know -- Louise Mathias

I was introduced to this poet through Poem-A-Day from The Academy of American Poets.

Louise Mathias's most recent book of poems is The Traps (Four Way Books, 2013). She lives in Joshua Tree, California, a small town in the Mojave desert.

The Problem of Hands 
by Louise Mathias

 And how to fill them
 is the problem of cigarettes and paint.

 First time I felt my undoing
 was in front of

 a painting--Sam Francis, I believe.

 Oh, his bloomed out, Xanax-ed California.

 I liked the word guard, but you know

 we made each other
 nervous, standing too close

 for everyone concerned. All art being

 a form of violence
 as a peony
 is violence.

 Here you come

 with your open hands.

About this poem: "In museums, I often attract the guards’ attention because I like to get very very close to paintings I love. I once fell in love with a man in the large white rooms of the Art Institute of Chicago, in large part due to the way his breathing changed when we stood too close. At its root, 'The Problem of Hands' is a poem about the brute power of desire—how it fills us—and it’s sister threat: that it can also cut us off at the knees." — Louise Mathias

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