Thin Matter

Thin Matter

by Alifair Skebe
Original cover art by the author.
ISBN: 978-0-921053-42-2
Retail price: $16 USD
79 pages
Genre/subgenre: Poetry
FootHills Publishing 
PO Box 68 
Kanona, NY 14856 

Promotional Information for Thin Matter:

Interview with Charlie Rossiter on Poetry Spoken Here, November 2016
Episode 033: Alifair Skebe and Rita Dove
Alifair Skebe from Albany, New York, explains the subtleties of elliptical poetry and provides a few examples from her just-published book, Thin Matter. In the second part of the show, host Charlie Rossiter discusses former poet laureate Rita Dove's recently published, Complete Poems: 1974-2004.

What Others Are Saying:

Poetry's no spectator sport. What is written in these poems, Skebe works equally as hard at what's not written, so that you, the reader, must bring
your [      ] to them

as light through a gap in the floor.

From their bottoms up, each poem creates the double world of an hourglass.
—Craig Czury, author of Thumb Notes Almanac

Perhaps all matter is thin: permeable, fragile, fleeting. Alifair Skebe cuts in to the fabric of matter, not to find a slice of life but to reach a vast opening. Charles Olson wrote, “any of us, at any instant, are juxtaposed to any experience, even an overwhelming single one, on several more planes than the arbitrary and discursive which we inherit can declare.” Skebe embraces those planes, wherein she is “poised in the balance/between is and being.” She discovers “no past—there is none/no past—I have none/all is here, you see.” A favorite poet of hers, Muriel Rukeyser, wrote that poetry is an art enabling us “to understand, in the glimpse of a moment, the freshness of things and their possibilities.” Throughout Thin Matter the freshness of things and moments vibrate; and in the final poem of the volume, Skebe lacerates a world wherein depleted uranium sinks into groundwater, offering instead:

Forget your pretenses
these poems are angry poems, sad poems,
fighting for their lives poems,
cannot be read as abstract poems or
tired image-driven poems,
don’t give them Wellbutren poems
or life-support.

These poems have concussions.

—David Landrey, author of Consciousness Suite

Recent Appearances:

Inner Ear Poetry Series, Buffalo, New York, August 2016
New World Writers Series, Woodstock, New York, November 2016
Huntington Poetry Series, Long Island, New York, November 2016
The Cheese Traveler, Albany, New York, December 2016
Zinc Bar Series, Manhattan, New York, December 2016
Great Weather for Media Series, Poetry Lounge, Manhattan, New York, December 2016

Sample Poems from Thin Matter:

By the Riverbank

rivulets snake through the mind
like words   like sand
turning lines of verse
in linear time                  undulating
reeds bend at a safe distance
from the edge            some
growing against the current
words take courage
and crumple it up like an old paper bag
down in the river below
Mother curled her cursive
O’s in grade school
courage takes words
to make deeds
follow me down the riverbank
and we’ll put a few words together


        Every corner is a detour
                                             a knife in the air
                  a cut against time
                                             before sharpening
      holding space in between
                                             the blade before a cut
               alternate lines meet
                                             the blade against fruit
     into the corner of thought
                                             or vegetable
           each moment severed
                                             to make neat slices
           becomes more human
                                             quivering hands
                 a choice not taken
         “I am afraid of myself”
                                             the arc of a blade
               charting the infinite
rhombus, perpendicular lines
                                             tucked away
   we all have separate selves
                                      lives kept secret

The Seed

asleep at rest
sweet small salient
kinetic drop of life
in a little pod
cold     to make hearty
heart     to make strong
to put out  to set
tension       energy   movement
a stirring
in – tension
poised in the balance
between is and being
in tend to tend
sweet song
my love my love
to make
to grow
white roots of peace

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