Nate Pritts is the author of Sensational Spectacular (BlazeVOX) & the recent chapbook Shrug (MSR Press). His new book, Honorary Astronaut, will be out from Ghost Road Press in the fall of 2008. The editor of H_NGM_N, Nate works in advertising. You can find him online at http://www.natepritts.com.
Fewer & Further Press
There’s something that is so recognizable & yet hard to annotate in the tone of Andrew Mister’s work. There’s a bit of James Schuyler in the way Mister is able to, again & again, craft poems that find the bright side without making it seem like they’re finding the bright side, poems that are straightforward & clear acts of gratitude, simple acknowledgements communicated without succumbing to the disjunctive syntax or ironic posturing that mars so much of contemporary poetry.
Hotels, in an equally clear-headed and clear-hearted design by Jess Mynes and his vitally important Fewer & Further Press, presents poem after poem of Mister piecing something together, developing it as the poem develops disarmingly. Consider the end of “Comfort Inn” as a good précis to Mister’s work:
We are so lucky
to be here
We are so lucky to be standing here
We are so lucky
to be standing
This sequence is stunning on so many levels. Notice the way that each tumbling line adds a different perspective on the same base; notice the way the stumbling momentum itself serves to engage the reader almost physically, jerking our way toward a revelation that is both humble & epiphanic.
Hotels is full of poems that are so recognizably human it’s almost painful and, of course, amazingly beautiful. Painful to realize we live in a world where we are forced to take comfort in lives that are nothing more than “15 boxes of books,” and beautiful to realize that it’s enough, that “[t]he light loosened / into an embrace” can still make the difference.