Bruce Covey lives in Atlanta, GA, where he teaches at Emory University, edits Coconut Poetry, and curates the ‘What’s New in Poetry’ reading series. Glass Is Really a Liquid is his fourth book and second (Elapsing Speedway Organism, 2006) from No Tell Books. His fifth collection, Reveal, will be published by Black Radish in 2011.
“Material (as in ‘concrete’: glassine — O liquid!) but abstract, says Miro in dialogue with Picasso. That is they’re pretty painterly, the poems, with images that flow past one changing into words … pixels … serifs. Domestic, lyric, amorous — well why not? “Cracked, however, like the liberty bell”. One can actually read them and be there, just reading, seeing (like you’re really there, really really there. You get to stay yourself). Steinlike (as in glasses), stained. Stunning. His best book yet.
– Alice Notley
“Glass Is Really a Liquid implicates more than one common substance in its continuous, polymath-eyed onslaught of negotiations of weird space: he unmasks hidden kitchens, pistols in napkins, a lurking way of “progressive sleep”. Gestures and feelings in these indexed syntaxes turn to colors, shapes, ideas. “It’s the new year, so everyone drives in the wrong direction”, a poem intones just before its speaker gets shot at by a helicopter “ammo pulsing 3 or 4 or 5 or blue”. In the hypercolor wake of all its gunfire, left wide open, the book still carries on, magnetizing in the same breath as its syllabic destruction a new Bruce Covey skinsuit around the reader’s body, equal parts Holy Shit! and Ouch!”
– Blake Butler
“In Glass Is Really a Liquid, Bruce Covey presents puzzles in poetry so perfectly constructed so that we may come to find that things are not always as they seem. The ways in which he uncovers and recovers discovery and loss allow us to see as he sees and, like him, “hope the clouds have / Answers hope the clouds have”. To read these poems is to embark on a “a beautiful visit, a beautiful injection” of playful artifice but also heartbreaking insight. These poems are so much about this world; they are so much about the next one, too, where “all the little / Animals might congregate after”. It’s sure to be a lovely affair because Bruce has taken us there.”
– Jenny Boully
“Bruce Covey’s Glass Is Really a Liquid begins in the aftermath of a catastrophic loss, in a vivid state of stunnedness not unlike that of shock. Poignantly and precisely, Covey catalogs the indefinable aftermath, of what remains for the thwarted left-behind: “a cardboard city full of weeds…” or “stale bread…” [with] “…Marshmallow Fluff on it”. These are poems are expansive, passionate, instinctual, intelligent and funny—crafted as tightly as ski mask.”
– Jennifer L. Knox
“”Three ice tea & the wave of the future” is a fair example of the things to be found in Bruce Covey’s ‘Restaurant’, and throughout his poetry. Or how about “buttonholes / & boxes, stomachs & teeth, awaiting / Fulfillment from a good marketing plan”? Everything in the universe is getting along with each other, or maybe not, but somehow moving forward. “Touch it & burn, but be saved”.”
– John Ashbery
It is about daisies, yes, and narcissus
& iris & the fallen cherry petals
Cascading across the grass like snow.
I just wish, for once, that underneath was
Only a series of horizontals & verticals,
With a little dot in the center of each square,
Rather than these 30,000 ton prickly atmospheres
Poking their way between each blade
& aerating the flesh, thus initiating
The final degradation. My superpower
Is the ability to stop time. My limit is
I can only use it once.
It’s all the same whether you or me’s
The one who lifts it. Ten pounds
Of feathers or ten pounds of dimes—
The one who weighs the more
Will ring a bell of jelly beans.
Yup, a circus theme: The five ways
The stilt man walks, his balance the key
& answer to over 500 questions.
Or the wolf that claims to be
A bearded woman. Fear of being
Torn, howling at the camera’s
Flash & brighter than the moon.
Or, shutter speed slow, a record-
Setting lifter, five small & full of aim,
Cigarette-smoking paper bag:
Redeem your tickets here! Skeeball
Or no, the capital of Tennessee’s
Root beer is the national bird,
The state bush, the first one to appear
On the 41-cent postage stamp.
from Glass Is Really a Liquid (No Tell Books, 2010).
Glass Is Really a Liquid is coming soon from No Tell Books.
Read more about Elapsing Speedway Organism
(No Tell Books, 2006).
Visit the No Tells blog.
Visit the No Tell Motel.
Visit Coconut Poetry.