Monday, August 13, 2012

A History of the World, by Natalee Caple

There is a fallacy and it goes like this:


In that red book someone aching to speak
To me but I am floating in the sea

Labial = the lips that moved
Gutteral = the throat the sound
Dental = Snap, words exist
Labial = before Gutenberg
Dental = the oral
Gutteral = past

First came the dissolution of religious houses and the libraries bereft began to wander. Sometimes the books would find each other passed along until they touched again on a shelf the sense of recognition like a match lit in the wilderness, one the match one the surface, hopestruck.

Humans were Joneses. Hard to see through the smoke under low round roofs. What did I do? says the book. Except ignore time.

Before Cromwell castles rags and oil fire thrown arcing
Into the library

Legends curl and shatter your legends your past (you stupid Joneses)

This fragment “war on slaves / I will consider I will know what caused them to go”

Assemble a draft from the floating pages because the words want to be read history wants to be known however good or bad however human

Cymru burned and the slaves ran
A Byronic energy rose
The spark struck between literacy and free thought
A little blue light
A synapse

You could never keep them all illiterate the word was the end

Natalee Caple holds a PhD in English from the University of Calgary. She is co-editor with Michelle Berry of an anthology, The Notebooks: Interviews and New Fiction from Contemporary Writers (Doubleday Canada). Her short story collection, The Heart is its Own Reason (Insomniac), was reviewed by the New York Times. Her first novel, The Plight of the Happy People in an Ordinary World (Anansi), was optioned for film, and her first book of poetry, A More Tender Ocean (Coach House), was nominated for a Gerald Lampert Award. Her second novel, Mackerel Sky (Thomas Allen), was published in Canada, and in the United States (St. Martin’s). In 2010 she published a book of poetry titled The Semi-conducting Dictionary: Our Strindberg, in 2011 she published a book of short stories titled: How I Came to Haunt My Parents. And in Spring 2012 she is scheduled to publish an as-yet untitled novel about Calamity Jane. Caple lives in Peterborough with her husband and their twin children.

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