An Introduction to Grant Chemidlin by Victoria Chang

Chemidlin’s poem is compact with its small sections, but each section amplifies its emotions–whether being humor, pathos, confusion, and/or sadness. What I enjoy about this poem is its playfulness within the poem’s gravity. In II for example, about the sheep, “I herd them beneath the great blanket of night,” a beautiful line, followed by “I heard them,” playful language. Chemidlin’s poem also contains miniature moments of surprise, such as in section VIII when “The stone is gay” or in IX: “You don’t know me. I / don’t know me…” instead of the more obvious “I don’t know you.” Even the ending of the poem is cheeky and comes full circle.