An unsentimental and at times disquieting first collection, the poems of About Crows excavate self, family, race, location, sex, art, and religion to uncover the artifacts of a succession of traumas that the speaker does not always experience firsthand but carries with him to refashion into some new importance. This is a book of half-states, broken affiliations, and dislocation. The speaker leads the reader through the fragments of a flooded town that grows increasingly elusive the more one looks for it; through a succession of Seoul "love motels" that further displace the outsider to unclaimed margins transformed into sites of creative invention; through "galleries" of artwork, where movement, color, and image are renewed through ekphrasis; and through the world of the metatextual long poem "The Cult Poem," where good and bad moral binaries tangle into a rat's nest of our best and worst spiritual ambitions. The poems and sequences of About Crows are marked by their artistic balance of the sublime and the profane, of polyphony, syntactical complexity, clashing images, cagey humor, and unsettling sincerity, all trying desperately to connect.
Craig Blais was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts. His poems have appeared in such literary journals as Bellingham Review, Best New Poets, Hayden's Ferry Review, The Pinch, Sentence, and Spoon River Poetry Review. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.
Acknowledgments I. The Lost TownAbout CrowsHuffersMy Sister at the AirportRobert Frost in the SlaughterhouseSuburban MythopoeticsAn Alternate History of Enfield, Mass.When I Opened the Anthology of Poets OppressedThe Fall of CommunismThe History of Hockey in My TownFive Memories of Motion II. The Beverly Hills of Korea (Or, My Life in the Love Motel)The Rise of CommunismThe Beverly Hills of KoreaAll the Signs Read ?????A RiverThe Mongolia Room III. The Error GallerySelf-Portrait with Seven Fingers IMidwinter Rains over Montreal: A Video InstallationSelf-Portrait with Seven Fingers IISummertime (1943)Scenes from a Village: A TriptychOrizuruAfter We Disembark and Spend the Day on the Island while the Ship's Repaired, I Board Alone, Flip through a Chinese Restaurant Calendar, and Write Three Poems to Express My FeelingsSelf-Portrait with Seven Fingers IIIThe Madonna and Child with St. AnneSelf-Portrait in ShockThe Last Painting IV. The Cult PoemThe Cult Poem Notes