The poems of Anders Carlson-Wee’s debut chapbook Dynamite flare with the volatile heat of discovery and loss as they follow the journeys of a speaker whose wanderlust leads him to the fringes of the American experiment. Whether hopping freight trains with his brother or sleeping in the homes of strangers, the speaker is haunted by the tragic and oddly gracious people he meets. Selected by Jennifer Grotz as the winner of The Frost Place Chapbook Competition, Anders Carlson-Wee’s Dynamite rides into the unmappable territories and wide expanses of the spirit.
“The poems in Anders Carlson-Wee’s Dynamite are, as their title suggests, dramatic and volatile, filled with an explosive and masculine energy. And yet it’s the subtle but ever-surfacing lyricism radiating out from stunning understatements coupled with precise and nuanced detail that makes these poems unforgettable. Dynamite is a collection that first affects the reader strongly and swiftly—and then achingly and hauntingly over time.” —Jennifer Grotz, author of The Needle
“So attuned to the music and texture of syllables, the sound-sculptures of syntax, and the complex under-meanings of metaphor, that shaping phrases and sentences to enact (rather than merely express) their own meanings is already second nature to him. Anders Carlson-Wee makes the rugged physical and emotional world of the upper plains our world.” —B.H. Fairchild, author of Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest
“You’ll wish you knew the birdcall for this book’s kind of danger—the danger of beauty, the danger of change.” —Traci Brimhall, author of Our Lady of the Ruins
“Carlson-Wee’s strangely practical lyricism offsets sentimentality and points us back to the moment and its violence. The more time I spend with these poems, the more I admire them.” –Rain Taxi Review
Read the title poem:
My brother hits me hard with a stick
so I whip a choke-chain
across his face. We’re playing
a game called Dynamite
where everything you throw
is a stick of dynamite,
unless it’s pine. Pine sticks
are rifles and pinecones are grenades,
but everything else is dynamite.
I run down the driveway
and back behind the garage
where we keep the leopard frogs
in buckets of water
with logs and rock islands.
When he comes around the corner
the blood is pouring
out of his nose and down his neck
and he has a hammer in his hand.
I pick up his favorite frog
and say If you come any closer
I’ll squeeze. He tells me I won’t.
He starts coming closer.
I say a hammer isn’t dynamite.
He reminds me that everything is dynamite.
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