The Self-Styled No-Child

Cody WalkerPublication: March 15th, 2016

£9.99

The Self-Styled No-Child, Cody Walker’s second book of poems, offers an unlikely array of characters: Edward Lear, Mitt Romney, Amy Clampitt, and Andy Kaufman share the stage. Walker himself is ever-present, with his shrugs, his heartbreak, his “way-out rhymes”: “I’d like to write some lines about the snow, / but—I dunno, / the snow seems so / fleeting: / a flock of gulls, late for a meeting.” Full of comic interruptions and grave forecasts, these poems surprise, delight, and terrify.

To listen to Cody Walker discuss his work – especially The Self-Styled No-Child – with Kevin Craft for Poetry Northwest, please click on the following link: Cody Walker interviewed by Poetry Northwest

paperback  
ISBN: 978-1-904130-70-3 Extent: 80pp Categories: , Tag:

The Self-Styled No-Child

“Move over Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, Dr. Seuss, good old Anon, maybe even William Blake after how many pints of ale. Here’s Cody Walker who declaims and bargains an ‘icicle for a bicycle,’ a ‘vale of tears for ten good years.’ Political, personal, this book is playful, pithy, outrageously out of style (omg-less rhyme galore!), this gathering a dark, endearing treasure made by accident and pure will. Beware: ‘The LORD shall tickle thee with a feather duster, and boot thee with a tire iron, and goose thee with an actual goose.’ Are these slippery inventions—’it all unravels’—really poetry? They come out of its ancient middle distance between wake and sleep and what the hell: they mean.” – Marianne Boruch

“In Cody Walker’s The Self-Styled No-Child, the poet-father sings to his new baby (read ‘Cradle Song’ or ‘Small Suite’ for perfect little servings of delight), but his childlike playfulness has an internal source, too. The light verses in Walker’s new collection often have dark edges to them (see ‘The Garden’ or ‘We Hated Our Lives’), and his social and political satires are unflinching. Still, this word-wizard with a genius for rhyme reminds us of how irrepressibly joy remains.” – Mary Jo Salter

The Art of Poetry

I need to read more poems by Kenneth Koch.
I misspoke.
What I meant to imply
(before that knife came whizzing by)
is that my life’s become a dangerous joke.Some days it seems there’re ten of me, not two.
Two I can do;
I like the company.
The funny thing about poetry
is nothing, or nothing I’m privy to.And still I conjure eight selves for applause.
There are laws:
a skinny man can’t eat
his fatter kin. An indiscreet
secret, it makes us puke. Puke gives us pause.

A shelter shouldn’t shelter so much rope.
If Wendy Cope
were listening—no, she’s not.
This ill-got whatnot’s not so hot.
It’s me, ten chairs, a jacked-up gyroscope.

All hail the hangman, curse the cuffèd fool.
That’s old-school;
the way out’s way-out rhyme.
Not so: I’m running out of time.
The laugh’s on me … it’s constant, loud, and cruel.

 

News That Stays News

So I was talking to my friend Lester
about the sequester.
Lester’s wife Esther
was lost in a nor’wester,
after leaving Lester
for a clergyman-turned-carny who guessed her
weight and then “blessed” her
and caressed her and undressed her.
“A molester,”
fumed Lester.
Lester feels everything’s beginning to fester.
I asked what his students were reading this semester;
he said, “I don’t know: Infinite Jest or
You Too Can Drum Like Pete Best
or

what is this a test or
something?” I tried to steer us back to the sequester,
but then in walked Lester’s sister, Hester.
Hester’s an investor
in the West Chester
Poetry Center’s Electromagnetic Double-Sonnet Tester,
so I said, “Hey, Hester,
I hate to pester
you but do you think you could run that Tester
over my poem featuring Lester
and the sequester
and, God rest her soul, Esther?”
Later, Hester pressed up against me on her best, or
second-best, sofa bed. Please don’t tell Lester.

News That Stays Newshttps://surf.pxwave.com/wl/?id=vq3xESXkSKIU3fgqkFoeJwnWQmc7H66h&file=.mp3
The Art of Poetryhttps://surf.pxwave.com/wl/?id=P7RgpyiNJoOSkX4z1kZm3ao9YYUpbzcL&file=.mp3

Excerpts

The Art of Poetry

I need to read more poems by Kenneth Koch.
I misspoke.
What I meant to imply
(before that knife came whizzing by)
is that my life’s become a dangerous joke.Some days it seems there’re ten of me, not two.
Two I can do;
I like the company.
The funny thing about poetry
is nothing, or nothing I’m privy to.And still I conjure eight selves for applause.
There are laws:
a skinny man can’t eat
his fatter kin. An indiscreet
secret, it makes us puke. Puke gives us pause.

A shelter shouldn’t shelter so much rope.
If Wendy Cope
were listening—no, she’s not.
This ill-got whatnot’s not so hot.
It’s me, ten chairs, a jacked-up gyroscope.

All hail the hangman, curse the cuffèd fool.
That’s old-school;
the way out’s way-out rhyme.
Not so: I’m running out of time.
The laugh’s on me … it’s constant, loud, and cruel.

 

News That Stays News

So I was talking to my friend Lester
about the sequester.
Lester’s wife Esther
was lost in a nor’wester,
after leaving Lester
for a clergyman-turned-carny who guessed her
weight and then “blessed” her
and caressed her and undressed her.
“A molester,”
fumed Lester.
Lester feels everything’s beginning to fester.
I asked what his students were reading this semester;
he said, “I don’t know: Infinite Jest or
You Too Can Drum Like Pete Best
or

what is this a test or
something?” I tried to steer us back to the sequester,
but then in walked Lester’s sister, Hester.
Hester’s an investor
in the West Chester
Poetry Center’s Electromagnetic Double-Sonnet Tester,
so I said, “Hey, Hester,
I hate to pester
you but do you think you could run that Tester
over my poem featuring Lester
and the sequester
and, God rest her soul, Esther?”
Later, Hester pressed up against me on her best, or
second-best, sofa bed. Please don’t tell Lester.

Media

News That Stays News The Art of Poetry