037.1: The Offending Adam:: Best of the Web Nominees 037

One of the purposes of this journal is to focus on each individual piece of content we publish. We write an introduction for each piece to indicate the relationship we have with the writing. There is not one piece that has been published on this website that we are not proud of and honored to be able to present. In light of this, the task of choosing a selection as our representatives for awards anthologies presented a difficult task. When we have created our own unique relationship with each piece, how do we go about choosing favorites? When Dzanc asked us to do precisely this and nominate three pieces for their annual Best of the Web series, we were both excited and flummoxed. Excited to share and celebrate some of the wonderful work we have been lucky enough to publish. Flummoxed to have to select from all the pieces that we admire so much.

With this in mind, we have selected the below three pieces as our nominees for the 2011 edition of BOTW. We want to first thank each one of our contributors for making our first year of publishing such a success. And, in particular, we want to thank and our nominees Alexander Long, Jennifer Sweeney, Christopher Schaberg, and Mark Yakich for sharing their surprising and enlightening work with us. We invite you to take a moment and revisit their writing or visit it for the first time. We hope that you enjoy these pieces as much as we did. The Offending Adam

Best of the Web 2011 Nominees

Alexander Long:: Photograph: Poet on Dust Jacket, Richmond, Virginia 1996

“All I’m doing is gazing into a gaze. His gaze, the gaze of a dead man. I want my vertigo to be symbiotic, but I never met—and never will meet—Larry Levis.”

Jennifer Sweeney:: Old Town Square

I have never been quite sure what ‘epistemological’ means, and even after a short foray in search of a definition on the internet, now I think I am less sure. But the word comes to mind when reading Jennifer Sweeney’s poems, “Preface” and “Old Town Square.” The poet’s work questions the limits of knowing, yet somehow seems so sure of those limits. Sweeney’s work forces the conditional to become concrete, but only for a moment, until that concrete again dissolves into the sea, undulations, threads, and strings. Imagine holding a cinderblock, if every piece of sand and glass were visible and it weighed almost nothing.

Christopher Schaberg & Mark Yakich:: Real Poetry from The Airplane Reader

It may be apocryphal, but I’ve heard that pilots and surgeons have similar psychological profiles—they are aggressive, self-assured, contain a store of vast technical knowledge, intimidating. And whether or not it is factually true, the comparison does make sense. These are people we give great, blind trust to every day, unflinchingly. Our lives are literally in their hands, and very rarely do we even remember their names after the procedure or flight. It takes a certain amount of ego to name a piece “Real Poetry”, and Christopher Schaberg and Mark Yakich earn that cheekiness as they constantly dazzle us through this piece’s pure expanse and its technical dexterity. The reader is constantly confronted with all of these aforementioned traits—traits that can be extended to the essayist and poet. “Real Poetry” is a collaboration in aviation that doesn’t ask for your trust because it doesn’t need it. It knows exactly what it’s doing. Relax—you’re in good, capable hands.