Lawler is a madman. His poems remind me of the cosmic yet earthy
hair-dust of profound, secret talk vibrating still in napkin folds
at a café table once shared by Marcel Duchamp, Mahatma Gandhi,
Madame Curie, Mickey Mantle, and Hélène Cixous. Lawler
exhibits startling leaps of imagination that reveal the interconnectivity
of all elements of the universe and knows that the true purpose
of the poet is—as Gary Snyder has described—to ‘hold
the most archaic values on earth.’ We visit the body of his
remarkable poetry like stepping into our lives anew, with respect
for the chalaza of an egg inhabiting the in-between of many journeys.
Sit up straight, close your eyes, place your hands palms up at
the juncture between the thighs and the hips, and peer into the
pineal gland otherwise known as the third eye: Lawler’s extraordinary
poetry is already there, intuitively known to us, vibrating like
a foreign yet profoundly familiar dawn, arising from and dissolving
back into a continuousl generative source, what we might call love,
or bliss, or—as Lawler himself describes—‘How
birth sometimes looks like something else.’”
Kalamaras, author of The Theory and Function of Mangoes
people who've been dead for centuries love Patrick's poetry!"
I consider how my light is spent
half my days in this dark world and wide,
think of Lawler, and am gratified."
across time and space and cultures and genders, Patrick Lawler
gathers characters as diverse as Christopher Smart, Ed McMahon,
and Rosa Parks. Ecological and ethereal, political and historical,
philosophical and physical, this astonishing book is a place where
anyone who has walked the earth can rub up against anyone else.
A place where the light of their sometimes painful, sometimes humorous
encounters reveals our connectedness as earth unfolds around us.
Lawler’s sensibility is woven of brilliance and tenderness.”
Tomol Pennisi, author of Seamless
Soul selects her own Society—
her divine Majority
it's Lawler at the door."
Patrick Lawler’s brilliant Feeding the Fear of the Earth, the
Earth itself is the poet’s playground. But in playing with
cultures, geographies, myths, and histories, Lawler is deadly serious.
This is a poetry of dazzling and disturbing invention that shows
us what we didn’t know or didn’t want to know or had
forgotten we knew about the world we inhabit. ‘Everything
we once feared we must fear again,’ writes Lawler. ‘And
everything we once loved we must love again.’”
Lloyd, author of The Gospel According to Frank
I hear Patrick's poetry I always want to go DOWNTOWN!"
lookin' at you, Patrick Lawler."
Journal on Patrick Lawler’s Feeding
the Fear of the Earth
by Amy Bauer
for Dr. Lee
March 28th 2008
Lawler’s Feeding the Fear of the Earth is a time warp...
that sucks up the visions and personalities of some of the earth’s
most extraordinary figures and merges them with the destruction and
injuries humanity subjects the earth too. In his first poem, Lawler
writes, “It was a time/ when time was/ ground up into/ history” (3)
beautifully illustrating the world of his poetry where time is suspended
and images of history can be seen in the present. He draws powerful
connections between eternal poets and modern stars of pop culture together,
all commenting on the ways humans contribute towards allowing the “fear
of the earth” to grow, and the few who find way to allow that
fear to starve and return earth to its original state of wonder and
Life’s too big to be only one person” (4) Lawler declares
in “Dante Saying Arrivederci to Hell Sees Mary Wollstonecraft
Riding a Dolphin”, making a simple statement that profoundly
describes the nature of this poem and the rest of his poetry. The earth
that he wishes to explore and the society of people he wishes to comment
on are too large and diverse for him to only be him. He allows his
poetry to delve into the minds and spirits those who also had vision
and the wish to explore the unknowable world. In this poem also, Lawler
introduces the first of the four elements that his poetry, this book
and three others, investigates. Fire runs through this selection of
poetry, charging it with the power and force that fire represents and
appearing in different ways and incarnations. Lawler says in this poem
that “The first world is fire” and then later describes
his sporadic moments of self understanding as “flickerings,” evoking
the transient image of a candle flame dancing in and out of existence.
This “flickering” continues into the next poem, allowing
the transition to flow with the grace of another one of his motifs,
water, appearing as “flickering and flashing…fire words” (8).
This image of burning and flames persists throughout much of the poetry
in the form of the burning spacecraft, “An angel with the wing
of fire” (9), and culminating in the poem, “Those Who
Died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Company Find Themselves Working in
Hamlet, North Carolina”. This poem dives headfirst into the
time warp, reminding readers how the ghosts of the past permeate
the atmosphere of the present. He writes “Those who died in
factory fires wait for us…Those who’ve died in factory
fires / always walk among us” (11), creating an image of those
who perished and an ominous apocalyptic outlook for the fate of the
human race. Because the poem centers around a tragedy of history
that was sparked during the advent of technology, the poem offers
a distinct statement about the dangers of allowing the mechanized
world the replace the natural one. The poem is full of harsh and
vicious imagery and language describing the “wire” and “the
smell of burnt flesh” (11), also emphasizing the darkness of
the fire motif. He also deeply weaves the impact of the literary
world and poetry into the fabric of history by comparing a spool
of wire from the factory to the skull of Yorick, an image from one
of the greatest tragedies, Hamlet.
Each of Lawler’s poems is stunningly written, and stunning to
the eye, taking on a variety of different forms, forms which allow
him to further experiment with the boundaries and power of poetry.
The recurrence of the form of the first poem “(black elk and
petra kelly visit love canal)” emphasizes the interconnectedness
of the poems to each other and the past to the present. The six poems
that have the same form, structure, and language, but undergo a type
of transformation, beginning with a description of dangers and intrusions
of the modern and technical world, but evolving into a description
of one of the most traumatic catastrophes of modern science and research-
the explosion at Chernobyl. These poems become a haunting warning for
the reader and a reminder of the precious earth that is ours to lose.