Anthony Butts is author of Fifth Season, Evolution, and Little Low Heaven, which was awarded the 2004 William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. His work appears on Our Souls Have Grown Deep Like the Rivers: Black Poets Read Their Work; in Giant Steps: The New Generation of African American Writers; and in American Poetry: The Next Generation. A Detroit native, he is a graduate of Wayne State University and the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Also by Anthony Butts
Little Low Heaven
Little Low Heaven
$14.00 paper | 59 Pages
Publication Date: April 2003
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Winner of the 2004 William Carlos Williams Award
Little Low Heaven describes a world of isolation and beauty, art and prophecy, loss and yearning. In his tender yet terrible reading of the human condition, Anthony Butts has become a poet of pain and sorrow and, finally, of the barest budding of hope.
"'We must have faith in what's not given,' writes Anthony Butts in Little Low Heaven, his extraordinary new volume of poetry. Seldom is a second book by a young poet so philosophically ambitious, and yet so vulnerable in its intimacy."
—Angela O'Donnell, Christianity and Literature
Poem to be Hummed
I am standing before a gathering of those
whose eyes are a gentle sea barely visible, all of us viewing
something near the poetry that isn’t us,
nor the poet as he was then, nor even some fellow rowing,
keenly aware of his small presence:
a void so familiar we dare not fear it
or ask why we don’t recall it in other moments.
Where do visions go? To the same
sanctuary as jazz artists at the completion
of a set—that magical green room we’ve only dreamt of?
Are we not something other than what we are?
The slender librarian in a sheer flowered dress,
the canary-yellow convertible rolling by?
Visions of beauty survive in the preserve
for what we no longer keep.
Most of us know the green room
was never meant for us but for the mythological
jazz man with all his faults, unable to switch off
whatever it is within us that we could never
switch on, our emotions like acute angles—
more a fear of consumption by mouths
than the opposing pull of what we see before us:
that we seek out the myths that we believe in,
an endless space having enveloped us long ago.