Aaron Anstett is one of those poets who defy categorization, his skepticism and dark humor turned as easily on himself as the world around him. His inclination to alliteration and peculiar phrase or image float towards meta-commentary, the poem talking about itself even while addressing its subject: “swiftly / as a prisoner / learns what’s a weapon: / anything.” (excerpt, Please List All Previous Addresses)
With too many lines to count which, once read, seem so utterly necessary it’s hard to believe they have only just been invented.
I dreamed a pony with the face of Freud,
glasses just so, beard immaculate, chewed grass tufts,
dropping cigar ash, tail swatting behind in vivid sunset.
Foreshortened centaur, lacking human arms and neck and torso,
he made whinnying pronouncements I barely followed, my German rusty,
his munching fervent. My best guess:
America a mistake, a giant mistake, the clover luscious.