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Segue 9: Fall 2010  ||  Tegan Echo Rieske


about the author


Tegan Echo Rieske lives in a moldy house in Indianapolis, Indiana, and spends most days, lately, procrastinating on her thesis. Her poetry has previously appeared in nidus, The Southeast Review, and Eclipse.


about the work


The two poems here are part of a larger series I've been working on for a long time, almost eight years. My brother died before his 30th birthday, I lost my mind, and these poems are about that process—which doesn't just involve losing my sense of the world, but finding a different orientation. I'm really very obsessed with how humans perceive themselves on Earth, how we can so easily miss out on the billions of years that led to this particular organization. I have this impression that a lot of humans feel like hitchhikers on Earth, like we're just waiting around for the end so we can get out of these bodies already and get on with the jam in heaven or the afterlife or whatever, or maybe just be perfect energy instead of so fragile and animal and diseased. These poems are in some respects about how strange the artifice of all this is, our packaged cigarettes and our interstates and constant light pollution and the way we complain about everything, etc. I can imagine human evolution began with a complaint.

In some ways I have a terrible time writing poetry. What I like about the genre is that it provides a way to express something beyond language through words. Like music, it's the space between, the silence, which gives shape and meaning. Nevertheless, I'm really nitpicky with my word choices and line breaks. Obsessive, almost. What I strive for is good music and imagery and an overall sense of experience, but I know I can never be a good judge of my own work. I imagine poems like little rollercoasters or funhouses. I don't always need to make sense of a poem, as long as I can sense something happening, that underground movement.

The two poems here felt a bit more effortless than some of my other work, which isn't to say they haven't been through the most awful amount of revision. What I mean is that I had a clear feeling about the poems, that I wanted to express something about sense of alienation and finitude, about wanting to feel grounded in the world but afraid of what that might mean. It's not just about losing religion, but questioning this whole construct of humanity. That's something I constantly try to do in my poetry, interrogate what's been built up around us.

The link I've provided is another in the series, for those who may be interested.


tegan echo rieske on the web





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