August 8, 2011

Gale Nelson

Gale Nelson [USA]

Born in Los Angeles in 1961, Gale Nelson moved to Rhode Island in 1986, where he has taught at Trinity Repertory Conservatory and Brown University. At Brown he is the Assistant Director of the Program to Literary Arts.

Nelson is married to fiction writer Lori Baker.

Editor of paradigm press, Nelson began publishing his poetry in the early 1990s with stare decisis (1991), Little Brass Pump (1992), and The Mystic Cypher (1993). To date he has published eight books and chapbooks, the most recent being This Is What Happens When Talk Ends (2011), a work of 8 sets of 8 poems that each follow the vowel pattern of a particular passage Shakespeare. These works to not contain the playwrights "content," but try to build toward their own coherence. The sets are not presented in linear succession, but arranged in a chess patter, the earliest surviving knight's circuit, attributed to al-Adli ar-Rumi of Baghdad, presumed to date from 840 AD.

Nelson's work has also appeared in the anthologies 49 + 1: Nouveaux poètes américains and The Joy of Phonetics and Accents.

David Harrison Horton has described Nelson's poems as "....a landscape of structures and variables, carefully recording instances in which language enjambs to the point of crisis and consigns itself to an altered path. Nelson flashes in and out of poetic modes that he is able to rein in from the brink of cacophony and craft into an engaging series of poems."


stare decisis (Providence, Rhode Island, 1991); Little Brass Pump (Buffalo, New York: Leave Books, 1992); The Mystic Cypher (Norman, Oklahoma: Texture Chapbooks, 1993); Spectral Angel (Sausalito, California: Duration Press, 1999); In It (Providence, Rhode Island: paradigm, 2000); Intersecting Mr. Sams (Providence, Rhode Island: paradigm, 2000); ceteris paribus (Providence, Rhode Island, 2000); greek myth in eggcup relief (Providence, Rhode Island, 2001); This Is What Happens When Talk Ends (Providence, Rhode Island: Burning Deck, 2011)

For a selection of three poems, click here:

For a suite of poems by Gale Nelson, click below:

Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English

Heart’s Evolving Signal Swelling

Foisted picket honors summit’s slope
as cleft cot binds our plumes in dung’s gloom.
All shapes could draw clouds, stub books, cut off fumes
nicely, yet spell no blood spent on least-juiced
orange. Lotus blooms, but digits coin fortunes. Any
pout quiets laugh’s tug on tongue,
courts pleasant quarters stolen even in
frost’s dusty spell. Sausage folded in duty’s heft causes
infiltrated salad doom in spite of
candor’s fine tact. Bottom’s up this vast beer bent,
sopping enough frothed cask but ale’s last mine.
Ease this liar’s cascade,
pose affinity’s louche vanity on last sudden
sun-lit branch. Cannot panel-long joists bend in?
No. Patter’s tooth-bust jag casts mood’s dull gloom. Limb’s mask
is daft as tumbles fall, and anyone yet tamed
postures poem’s stanza of dancing
in wrack’s cant. Tundra binds tonsils and igloo strips into
treacled home. Saucers mixed in, saucers
yet no cups in this blessed top shelf. Friends
spill nothing, break in on dare. That’s parsed but
an agony. Spare my trauma my siphon’s blade
and float past teaching’s flame.
Infighting, berating ill friend’s long relapse,
can’t we stop being dolts? Can all madness blind me,
upset or agonize? Must
that be all? Moisten not the lost lip,
carry ever on the fiendish aloof bent, alone.
Obscene candid yelps plead my insect’s cold heart
in vast desert’s blinded gloom, yet valiant bids
shall cancel either because of tether’s crawl.
Tonnage ingraining supply, ingots fadge only luck’s
tumble. Who enlists predicts eased plan
of entombed career talents in
inexact falls. Telescoped star shards twine those
cavities parsed as fluted straws, but
stains can suddenly place sampled lances on cup’s
dim clamor. Sugar beets grow between cusps,
and out above this fancy land,
closer stars bend in neutered shame.
Bid me no succor, honor just these saddened chromes

Copyright ©2009 by Gale Nelson. Reprinted from EOAGH, no. 5 (2009).

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