Rodney's Reviews > Field Work: Notes, Songs, Poems 1997-2010

Field Work by David Hadbawnik
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Jul 31, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: poetry

I never hear David Hadbawnik read without thinking of the wry, understated Steven Wright. The resemblance goes beyond voice to a shared capacity for close listening, and a gift for paring the overheard and often under-observed down to aphoristic vignettes tight with meaning and suggestion. No other poet I can think of has led me to consider “the astonishing shit of dogs. Rich red-brown … beaded, sculptural, coming out in little balls or ‘soft serve’ in one big bubbly lump, warm in my hand through the plastic bag.” But the everyday wakes up that way under David’s attention, even (especially) the unpleasant everyday of dog shit and waiting for buses and downbeat encounters with some of the people who ride them. But there’s also “the frank blank stare of a child,” or “Red, white, and blue balloons, rising against the sky dark and creased with rainclouds, quickly no more than pinheads of color against purple-gray”—not leading anywhere necessarily, but asking us to tune in, attend and look up.
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