I went to the homecoming on Pitt’s campus in October of this year. The homecoming of 4 esteemed MFA graduates, that is. I don’t think it’s too extreme to call Brandon Som’s return triumphant, though he’d probably balk at that description. Fun, weird, nostalgic, a little emotional… all of those probably.
Back in summer 2014, we were fortunate enough to run a segment of his "Bows & Resonators," shortly before it was published in The Tribute Horse, which turned out to be a prize-winner. And now, I got my hard copy of The Tribute Horse signed by the author, about the same time he found out it will go into a second printing.
Brandon is an assistant professor in the literature department at UC San Diego. In discussing his poetry a few years ago, readers made a lot of his use of sound and music. The reviewers of his book did the same when it was published, and Brandon has acknowledged in interviews the importance of hearing languages as music when he was younger, and the way that shaped his desire to be a writer, and try to put all the sounds that surround us onto the page.
What follows looks like a prose poem, but I’ll recreate the page-breaks from my paperback version. This forum would be a good place to ask questions that only the author can answer. Have a great week! -ed.
Before another rasp-worked moon, I’ll tender a clutch of cardinals, or
the flush on a runner’s cheek to better render the young girl’s gift to the
Christ-child. Flame leaf. Star flower. What is evening in the evening? By
what accounting? The sky will go away despite the trees thrashing &
the smoke giving chase from the chimneys. "Too much torn to make a
drawing," Audobon wrote of a hermit thrush after the day’s hunt. Isn’t it
also true of some stories? The infinite graftings. Here, you take a cutting.
The blood-colored leaf, once over the heart, was thought to increase cir-
culation. Ingested, it was believed to reduce fever. You might, however,
place it in the pages of a breviary beside a favorite psalm.