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Thigh’s Hollow

Dan Rosenberg


November 2015

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Winner of the Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Prize
Selected by Kazim Ali

Here is the other brother, the one not chosen. Thigh’s Hollow locates the wound Jacob suffers from wrestling with a divine stranger, but in a voice more Esau than Jacob: a “box this telling comes through not of.” He rises out of constraint. In these poems, language slips, interiors spill, the terrestrial soars. These transgressions leave a longing in their wake, a fundamentally alienated “nameless crawling upward I.” Thigh’s Hollow takes this alienation as a first principle, but its upward crawl brings us ever closer, through syntactic doubling and punning and play, to genuine communion. Through this thick language, these bent and brimming poems, we witness a wounded voice trying to heal itself: “my very defenses / grow in me the pearl.”

Dan Rosenberg is concerned by time and by time I mean his lyrics are epic. Epic because they ask the hero to fail and in failure is the truest quality of a muscle or a body or like to be known.

Kazim Ali, judge of the 2014 Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Contest

About the Author

Dan Rosenberg is the author of The Crushing Organ (Dream Horse Press, 2012) and cadabra (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015). He has also written two chapbooks, A Thread of Hands (Tilt Press, 2010) and Thigh’s Hollow (Omnidawn, forthcoming 2015), and he co-translated Miklavz Komelj’s Hippodrome (Zephyr Press, forthcoming 2015). His work has won the American Poetry Journal Book Prize and the Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Contest. Rosenberg earned an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD from The University of Georgia. He teaches literature and creative writing at Wells College and co-edits Transom.

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folded here for us all      witness
I find myself under their wings
fill the blue between horizons
      wet in the brain I’m some plastic
box this telling comes through not of

my making was funeral to
life if life I knew when before
dripped meaninglessly and was dry
as human to be a new sponge

      I have these drips they’re ours my brain
performs through the mesh      some sieve or
angel      smaller      a one pin quick
insertion listen this signal
its stem is elsewhere      the clouds fail

to cover my eyes cannot seal
away the visions      always men
breaching the sky they seem holy
      sufferers      I am bent beneath

the low heavens fat with their flight
      so clipped and tearful their wet flight
falls down on my splay this holy
rain soaks me to the back I keep
feeling my shoulders for no wings


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