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Inside the Invisible

Inside the Invisible

Inside the Invisible is Daniel Simpson's stunning collection, and winner of the First Annual Propel Poetry Series Award.  As Steve Kuusisto says in his canny introduction, 


Simpson’s poems propose that musicality should strive toward making sense—of losses, of small or large discoveries, of the very business of inquiry. There is even comedy in this as the poet meditates on what takes the place of literature in the lives of those who don’t read it:


Let us pray for poetry

that begins in love

and then moves outward.

May it fill the mouths

of all who love.


“My dancing tumbleweed,”

the crane operator will say

to his wife on a Sunday walk.

And the bookstore clerk, leaving for work,

will embrace her beloved in the kitchen.

“Oh, my hot skillet,” she will say,

“my deep, deep fryer.”


Lawrence said he preferred his heart to be broken: “It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack.” Simpson asks us to conceive of our limitations as evocative and darkly comedic matters:




Why would a young dog

give itself to guide the blind?

Ask the right question

to get a useful answer.

Did the dog have a choice?


What did the dog do,

once they neutered it

and slammed the kennel door

on its freedom dream?

It did its best to flourish.


And what about you—what

choices do you have left?

Do you take pleasure,

as Schonberg did in twelve tones,

unleashed by your limitations?


These are poems of advantageous doubt and they are rich and lyrical and invite us to take pleasure. The latter is aesthetically subversive given the public’s longstanding view of blindness—that it’s a profound limitation that goes beyond sightlessness to suggest a blunted capacity for knowledge. When a blind poet invites readers to unleash their own limitations via the challenge of pleasure one realizes how few analogies are to be found in the work of whatever we mean by “non-disabled”poets.

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