* what I don’t know – with Hayden Carruth & Joseph Massey

Swept – Hayden Carruth

When we say I
miss you what
we mean is I’m
filled with

dread.  At night
alone going
to bed is
like lying down

in a wave.  Total
absence of light.
Swept away to


This week I am sharing poems by Hayden Carruth and Joseph Massey.

The thread between them is how nuanced the lines are – both in terms of line breaks as well as pacing – in order to work their magic.  Read Carruth’s poem too fast and you miss the power of like lying down // in a wave – how the stanza break opens up after lying down and places you in a wave as you read.

A similar thing happened for me in the following poem by Massey in the second stanza.  The phrasing of I know/them, not/knowing their/names is tricky.  It took me a few readings to really cotton to what was happening there at the level of language.  More than an admission of not knowing the names of the things in spring, it elevates that not knowing into a knowing all its own.

I feel it in terms of this: what I don’t know could fill libraries – and does!

Hear – Joseph Massey

The field
throbs.  Early
spring splits
a few things

open; I know
them, not
knowing their

— my only
Here at the

it’s all said


Happy illegibling!


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