National Poetry Month, Day 29: Mike Dockins

Today on the penultimate day of NPM I feature my good friend Mike Dockins, author of Slouching in the Path of a Comet (Sage Hill Press, 2007) and the forthcoming “Letter to So-and-So from Wherever” (C&R Press, due out, we hope, in January). Mike and I studied together in school and have kept in touch for many years. He favors letter poems (there exists a seven-page poem called “Letter to Meserve from Orgeval”), and together we’re in the midst of a postcard poem project: he writes me a poem on a postcard and mails it off; I read it, write a response, and mail one back. It’s been great fun, and stay tuned because there will be more news on that tomorrow!

For today, please enjoy “Splitting the Atom for Dummies.”

Splitting the Atom for Dummies

America the plum blossoms are falling.
—Allen Ginsberg

The atom cannot remember its baby-
hood, when it was whole. At a state fair,

west of someplace, a muscled barker
whomped it with a rubber mallet.

This was the atom’s bildungsroman:
it traveled the world, splitting itself

over islands, atolls, & fishing villages.
The atom learned Japanese, composed

lucid odes to harbors, to wings, to light—
little flashes of genius piloting down

through bright mornings, alighting
on bookshelves as thin, papery Buddhas.

(© Mike Dockins)

Check out Tupelo Press

I just wanted to give a little plug for Tupelo Press, a small poetry press that’s doing a couple of very cool projects. My friend Mike Dockins is participating in the 30/30 Project, short for 30 poems in 30 days. It’s been fun for me to bop in and out and see what Mike and others are writing; a poem every day is no small feat!

There’s also a collaborative poem-writing project called The Million Line Poem, which I think anyone can contribute to (though I can’t quite figure out how). In any event, it’s a neat project.

Thanks, Tupelo!