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DIY Poetry Publishing Cooperative

February 23, 2008

New from Kitchen Press: Out of Light by Joseph Massey

Yet another chapbook from Joe Massey, this time with our friends at Kitchen Press. Did that sound like disappointment? Because it wasn't. I just need coffee. But even uncaffeinated, I successfully PayPal-ed my way to a copy. Rock.

Out of Light by Joseph Massey
Published by Kitchen Press
35 pages

Cover design by Scott Pierce
Layout by Justin Marks
Fashion consultant: Meridith Rohana

CLICK HERE to order.
I read Out of Light straight through (rare for a book of poems) when it arrived late yesterday: and again (rarer still) this morning; focusing different facets of the prisms. The echo I felt was a memory of the pleasure of beginning Merrill Gilfillan's Magpie Rising--dispassionate language that shares a passionate view. That I was driven to learn more of the history, geography and politics of Humboldt County is a bonus. With this collection Massey has removed the last traces of clutter and lets emotion dance to nature. --Tom Raworth

Don’t call it a comeback! Because Massey’s been here for years! And he’s close to my age! He was writing to Ginsberg when I was copying Nirvana lyrics down. So the poems are already well-seasoned poetically and experientially. What makes these poems stay with the reader? They don’t quite let you relax. And they don’t simply exhibit skilled craft, tho they are skilled craft. If a poem is a little machine made out of words, like William Carlos Williams said, Massey’s poems are among the most reliable nerve stimulators. Starkly cut images sometimes as scary as the opening cuts in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And it all has to work on the level of nerves, otherwise we’re just weaving pleasantries together. The emotion is facilitated not through sentiment but in the actual athletic feat of making a poem out of words. And making it so that it sticks to the brain. And there’s paradox, as in the dude’s professed predilection for an after-human world, or what could be misinterpreted as misanthropy, that is always undercut by what is really the raw stuff of human (mammalian) experience. Perception is always the most effective sharpening tool, and the poems in Out of Light expose the reader to true hugeness and intimacy. Poems condensed on the expressway to your skull. --Mike Hauser

For those familiar with Joe Massey’s work, Out of Light should continue to impress with a particular eye, and an equally particular ear, for the sensual or sensate. If it is true that the observer always alters the observed through the very act of measure, then Massey has certainly made an art of such alterations through the singular event of the poem. “No ideas / but in things,” Williams might say, but this no longer suffices. “A thrust of // things— / a world— / words—// crush / against / the margin of you” says Massey, and throughout this collection of exacting poems one is apt to experience a tension between how the poet’s world acts upon him, and how the poet acts upon his world, wherein the consequence of every act is measure itself. In Out of Light, there are no ideas but in such interactivity, an interactivity that bespeaks Joe Massey speaking. For those unfamiliar with his work, you will want to listen. And for those familiar with his work, you will want to listen—again. And again. --Christopher Rizzo

"Your poetry is like a bramble in my anus. And not in a good way." --Anonymous

"how the light/ makes do." All things contend with the weather, improvise a spar, feint around the canopy. And smudged. Smudged light and things are peripheral, overcast. "what/ sun/ a web/ snags." A next sense is sought and held to augment the washed-out other five -- something like a synaesthesia, underneath a bridge. --Buck Downs

In Out of Light, Joseph Massey pries open words with his 24 karat ear to expose a startling landscape where, “tree frogs // alliterate the dark,” where the moon is “mistaken for a cloud.” Massey directs light with a masterly precision in order to break open that gorgeous darkness that is our world— isolation, silence— and then a hummingbird shows up. And then the red bark of a tree, kelp, sea foam. And then the face, your face, “turned back by wind." And you see yourself in the landscape and it is no longer lonely, but as bright as the crystals inside a geode. --Sandra Simonds