041.1: Alan Semerdjian:: Birthdays & Dream & Kiss
8 November 2010
Two words come to mind when I read Alan Semerdjian's work: thoughtful and tender. Semerdjian writes verses that allow a moment or thought to expand out, to "examine" it "slowly like the fingers have forgotten." So much poetry finds a moment and immediately attempts to draw in other moments, other thoughts, other poetic tropes to fill some perceived void. There is nothing wrong with this approach, but Semerdjian shows us that failing to fully consider a moment for the moment's own sake causes us as readers to miss the beauty of the moment, the realization that the fleeting memory of a dream is "too deep / in its afternoon glory of flight." What is found within the act of thought is an ultimately tender world, the realization that through holding a loved one's hand how "they bend into my palms like fetal petals" or the beauty of "the subtle, desperate noise / of incompatibility almost enough to keep me awake." Where the rest of us let these dreams float away as we pour our morning coffee, or let a moment of poetic beauty we notice in the world likewise recede, Semerdjian grabs and holds, looks and ponders, and then, finally, sits down to write.