Leising, Gary. Fastened to a Dying Animal. Columbus: Pudding House, 2010.
—. Temple of Bones. Georgetown: Finishing Line, 2013.
I bought these two chapbooks at a poetry reading by my colleague Gary Leising last night. I had never read any of his poetry before, and was thus happy to discover that I really enjoy it. Leising’s poetry reminds me of work from the New York School in that it elevates everyday occurences to the level of the profound, and also smoothly incorporates elements of pop culture into its narratives. For example, my favorite poem from the reading, which is brand new and thus not included in Temple of Bones, is about Scarlett Johansson suing a French novelist for including a character named “Scarlett Johansson” in one of his books (which is obviously a ridiculously frivolous lawsuit. Good job being on the side of censorship, Scarlett.). The narrator of the poem then goes on to use Johansson’s name repeatedly, openly hoping that she will sue him and his work will get some free publicity. Many of Leising’s poems include this kind of well-crafted playfulness, which is refreshing rather than gimmicky. I look forward to reading more of them!