Because generosity is a reflex for Seattle poet and professor Bill Carty, he begins his Message to the City with a couple strong book recommendations. These should appeal to panicked parents camped out with kids, or to anyone else smart enough to know that children's books contain some of America's best poetry.
Robert McCloskey's classic Blueberries for Sal mostly reminds us—at this moment in time, at least—that blueberries exist, but also that summer's welcomely strange adventures are just beyond the (hopefully) flattening curve. Carty also mentions the "great aerobic exercises" in Molly Idle's Flora the Flamingo, which should help perk up all of us cooped up reclusives in slow decline.
But we won't spoil all of Carty's recs. Here's the rest of them, presented along with the real highlight of the show: a reading of two poems "against despair," as he says, from Huge Cloudy, his flat-out knock-down drag-out so-good collection of poetry from Octopus Books. Pick it up at your local bookstore. It's nothing but hits.
As his website will tell you, Carty grew up on the Maine coast. He's the author of Huge Cloudy and the chapbook Refugium. When not writing high quality poetry, he's selecting it from mounds of submissions as the senior editor of Poetry Northwest. You can take a class with him at Hugo House or Edmonds Community College, and your kids can take a class with him at UW Robinson Center for Young Scholars.
"Not a Moat" and "Huge Cloudy" are two of Stranger books editor Rich Smith's favorite poems in the book, but one of the many others is "Grace, Then Meat," which Carty offered to include here. Smith dedicates that last line to all of you, for after this whole thing is over.
Thanks for the lightness, Bill! And have a good day in quarantine, everyone.
Previously in this series:
Price Suddarth's message to the city on April 1.