by Trish Hopkinson
Pub Date: July 2017
Praise for Footnote:
“She holds a handful of earth— / she must say it to understand it.” This scene, from a poem that engages Rainer Maria Rilke as well as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, is a gorgeously emblematic and enigmatic moment in Trish Hopkinson’s Footnote. This collection is obsessed with the miracle of words and the mouths that say them, the bodies that carry them out and back in, deliciously, deliriously. From Emily Dickinson to Amiri Baraka to David Lynch to Sylvia Plath to Pablo Neruda to Janis Joplin, these poems perform erasures, palimpsests, collages, ventriloquisms, haunted monologues, dreams in which the physical dances with the metaphysical so that the stormy dream of language can enter us. And then we see how “we are driven by our own ceremonies, / by whirling words.” Hopkinson understands that the best conversation is a transformation, in which the words one has inherited are reinvented. Footnote reminds us that the act of saying is something we may never fully understand—and that is cause for whirling joy.
–Chen Chen, author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities
"What elegant control and preciseness in Trish Hopkinson’s chapbook, Footnote. These response poems pay homage to the greats—artists, singers, filmmakers and other writers like Amiri Baraka, Octavio Paz, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, Rainer Maria Rilke, Ai, Janis Joplin, and Pablo Neruda. In “A Room Made of Poetry,” a found poem from Laura Hamblin’s The Eyes of a Flounder, Hopkinson writes: “Here you can wait,/ with desire, with/ roots exposed/ for an open womb. That heart-balm/ as hope./ The raw bent/— a bowl of fruit/ in a language I never knew . . .” This is exactly the feeling these poems evoke: in the rhythm of response and found poems, and forms like reverse snowballs and erasures, Hopkinson covers so much ground, giving readers a taste of art from across the centuries and the world. Footnote must simply be savored and re-read."
–Nicole Rollender, author of Louder Than Everything You Love and Ghost Tongue
"In Trish Hopkinson's first chapbook, Footnote, she writes, "The human past stands still," yet she manages to bring these pasts back to life with response poems that converse with and memorialize not only poets, but also filmmakers and musicians. Take these lines, describing an experience of listening to Janis Joplin: The maniac screams. / Her lips touch my face. / Her palm presses madly / at the back of my neck, squeezes my collar and jerks / me in neurotic movement. Reader, you are in for delight from the first poem to the last."
–Bernard Grant, author of Puzzle Pieces
"These astonishing tributes are a heady mix of the concrete and the abstract, of sensuality and cerebralism. Be prepared to experience "the ink-smell of report cards and recipe boxes," to feel your "insides vibrato" amidst "the sweltering prick/ of poppies." "I turned thirty & left/ god roadside to hitchhike his way home," Hopkinson reports in a tribute to Allen Ginsberg. What's a reader to do but surrender?"
–Ann Tweedy, author of The Body’s Alphabet
"In Footnote, Trish Hopkinson dives into the messy, gritty, dark and beautiful conversations of the literati. Through her poems we are reminded that art is an ongoing conversation between creator and audience as both seek to illuminate the human condition. Hopkinson wraps herself in the language of Dickinson, Poe, Carol, Joyce – sometimes responding extemporaneously, sometimes utilizing erasure, pastiche, or invented forms to more closely examine, and even subvert, their voices. Like O’Hara, she recognizes that artistic disciplines are richer for cross-pollination, and includes responses to filmmakers and musicians. More than an addendum or explanation, Footnote is an invitation to explore, engage, and rework the modern poetic legacy. Pull up a chair and have a seat at the table."
–Sonja Johanson, author of Trees in Our Dooryards and all those ragged scars