Monday, October 6, 2014

#BLauthor15: Jason David Peterson

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#BLauthor15 is Jason David Peterson.

Jason David Peterson lives, writes, and works in Saint Paul, MN. He can also be found co-hosting the Saint Paul Poetry Workshop. He received his Masters in English at the University of Wisconsin with an emphasis in creative writing, and his poetry has been recognized in the back alleys of literature with scholarships, nominations, and awards in Canada and the U.S.

Jason is a previous contributor to BL (see issue #26) and has a book out from Distillate Press called Brutes & Fools—look for a review of that title coming next week, along with a guest post by Peterson.

For now, enjoy a new poem of Jason’s:


Once built, a house
will build upon you
room by room.

Where no closets
open their walls
to the well of space,
you become a people
who hold on to less.

Where windows
fail to breathe,
a pleasure-burden
weds you with
the dark mistress
of privacy.

Where doors and stairs
make a narrative divide,
diverse versions of you
will come alive—

your veins of wire,
lungs of pipe,
of hardwood skin,
the charm and presence
of lamp-strung eyes—
the beginning.

Then the whole
of the body reveals;
age and frailty,
seasonal moods,
places that won’t keep up
but dust over and peel
that tender
familiar truth:

The heart of you is not
in the fresh-paint passion.
It’s the way you take a guest in.

Co-editor Stacia M. Fleegal on “Residence”: To say simply that I enjoyed the metaphor of this poem, of the person-as-house, doesn’t do the poem justice at all. The metaphor is, of course, lovely: the “veins of wire” and “lungs of pipe” are strong details, but the heart of this poem is, well, the heart. The way Peterson arrives at the epigrammatic final stanza, where he reminds us that how we treat others means so much more than how we appear on the outside, is fresh and even a bit enchanting. I could see how we can begin to take on our homes’ characteristics, and they ours—if there are no closets, we hoard less, for example. And just like a house, if we don’t maintain ourselves, in terms of both virtue/morality and appearance, things can deteriorate quickly.

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