Poetry. Introduction by John Beer. Joel Craig's poems first reach out with quiet Midwestern sincerity—precise craft mixed with personal invention—but quickly thicken: "Let me try to lay out what I think I understand" leads to "Las Vegas / and the end of Western history." Ethical without being political, popular without being pop, personal without being sentimental, Craig sings of how we are "stuck near a river / [we] can feel the evidence of / but can't imagine." Filled with elegies to aging rock 'n' rollers, explorations of skipping romance, and studied frustration with the world as it appears (and a sincere belief that quiet hands, by themselves, can change it), Craig's book doesn't so much demand as much as call out to the reader, in sequence like an all-night deejay party, with time to dance, time to rest, time to go to the bar and get a refill, or outside for a quick cigarette, hitting on someone on the way back in, hoping to strut, step and swing with them.
Joel Craig is the author of HUMANOID (2021) and THE WHITE HOUSE (2012), both from the Green Lantern Press. He co-founded and hosted the Danny's Reading Series in Chicago from 2001-2015 and serves as an artistic associate for the LitLuz festival (litluz.org) and poetry editor for MAKE literary magazine. Author City: CHICAGO, IL USA