David Dodd Lee
David Dodd Lee's recent poems have appeared in Blackbird, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Pool, Denver Quarterly, Slope,
Pleiades, Laurel Review, Nerve, and Massachusett's Review. He is the editor of the annual poetry and fiction anthology, SHADE, published by Four Way Books. Lee is also the publisher of Half Moon Bay poetry chapbooks, which include titles by Franz Wright and Hugh Seidman. In the past he has served as poetry editor at Third Coast and Passages North. He has worked as a park ranger, a fisheries technician, and a journalist. He received the MFA degree in 1993, after taking a BFA in painting and Art History in the eighties. He teaches creative writing at Indiana University South Bend.
Also by David Dodd Lee
Downsides of Fish Culture
Downsides of Fish Culture
$12.00 paper | $22.00 cloth
ISBN-13: 978-0-932826-55-8 (paper)
ISBN-13: 978-0-932826-54-1 (cloth)
Publication Date: September, 1997
63 Pages | Foreword by Charles D'Ambrosio
An Inland Seas Poetry Book
"Nowhere in recent American writing have I found such a marvelous evocation of a generation, the first to be so at home with halfness and failure, to accept the end as the raw material of life."
—Charles D'Ambrosio, from the foreword
"Like the natural world David Dodd Lee knows from the inside, a firsthand knowledge, his poems are comprised of grace and violence in equal parts, mesmerizing and inescapable rhythms, and dark but brightly lit imagery — compelling poems sprung from the dark heart of American poetry."
"Lee reminds us that the richest act of imagination is — above all else — an act of empathy. Both the sadness and exhilaration in this poet's heart of hearts — the living poem itself — become the reader's too. This refreshingly original debut collection is full of fragile human atoms on the loose somewhere between versions of terror and sheer delight. We come to count on this poet's stubborn insistence: in the war against despair, the spoils of comfort and sustenance must be re-invented, again and again, on our dizzying everyday walks through the world."
"In the poems of David Lee, the world of nature, impassioned, brutal, swift, is not just out there in the Michigan drifts — it is in here, in us. How powerfully we are made to know this, beyond mere hope or reckless sorrow, is what I find most stunning — and most frightening — about his poems. This is a poetry so alive as to be almost ready to blow its seams — and would, but that it is governed decisively by craft and intelligence. Instead, I hold on, as we must, for dear life."
A Poem About Bluegills
There are poems about bluegills. There are poems
about trout. The bluegill doesn’t give a shit.
It’ll eat a bare hook but would rather not hear
about your childhood. The bluegill’s thick headed.
It hunkers down in the weeds, thinking. The trout’s like a young girl
in a wedding gown. Touch it and it dies.
You can pull a bluegill out a pike’s ass, it might
still swim away. I’m not talking about pumpkinseeds,
those little flecks of tinsel. The bluegill’s
the stud of all panfish. People catch pumpkinseeds
thinking they’re bluegills. A pumpkinseed shivers;
it thinks it’s going to convince you it’s cold.
Bluegills are fatalists. A slab in your hand may jerk its head
twice. Once hooked it goes for the mud. By the time
it’s resting on a flotation device it’s willing to die.
It doesn’t grope like a rock bass, swallowing air,
the bluegill’s a realist. It knows it’s just a wedge of painted flesh,
heavy enough to pull you half out of the boat.
If you’ve got a big white bucket of panfish
sitting on top of the ice, the bluegill’s the one still living,
thinking, its head like a stapler, mulling things over.