Preorder In Our Now at Finisingline Press Orders ship August 26th 2022
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In Our Now plunges its readers into urgent and musical currents as poet and visual artist Valyntina Grenier rewires and rewilds the language of Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire. These poems command us to “lounge in queerness,” “call the flower sex-worker” and “hear the bees leeward/ nosing like pigs through golden dust.” Grenier invents a new form that distills the language of love, science, and nature to produce a necessary elixir for our contemporary moment. These poems give us hope in the improvisations of the natural world and the ways that language can bend towards its representation. “Trashed lilies lean in,” Grenier tells us. “Accept the invitation/ into their throats of nectar.”
“[O]rdinary vision/is a hinge/crowded with flowers.” So begins my (our!) lucky chance to experience the world through Valyntina Grenier’s capacious (and beyond ordinary) vision – a vision that is brilliant in its ability to help us know the world and ourselves through all of our senses (read these lines aloud, feel them slip and clap in your mouth), enlarging the often simplified statement that “People are nature” to include all of the grandeur and violence and banality such a statement can, and must, mean Grenier has both witnessed and provoked the “trashed lilies” (of my body and the earth) to “punch the air” and I could not be more grateful to be in this company.
Each of these poems touches down and merges so completely with a love for the “perfect geometry” of the imperfect world. Long before picking up the pen, Grenier must be leaning, resolutely, devotedly, “nosing like pigs in the golden dust” toward the conscious streaming of a poetry beyond any single poet. I want a nose like that. I want to learn to lean like that.
I work with paint, ink, encaustic medium, Neon, recycled materials and words. The cover image is a collaboration with Joseph Mark Hanson for my Eco series, Radio Ocean. The poems are eco art as well; the first drafts were selected (reduced/ reused/ recycled) from Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire. I dictated the selected text to my phone. Initially favoring sound over sense, I rearranged the block of text. Meaning, more vocabulary, line breaks, stanzas and transpositions followed. You'll find a poem from the collection along with a recording and some "book drafts" at The Night Heron Barks.
Preorder In Our Now at Finisingline Press
Read an interview about Radio Ocean at The Journal OSU.