Alex Grant


This one’s a little tricky, since most of my poems are persona poems, to some degree – as a general rule, I eschew the confessional or strictly personal approach. I think that the use of persona in a poem frees the poet to inhabit a world outside of the individual personality – I imagine it’s a little like wearing a chinese mask – it allows the writer to take on a foreign personality, to say something that might otherwise sound inauthentic or affected if it were spoken directly. It also allows me to repeatedly make staggering, unauthenticated claims of fact – a very appealing notion!




Neruda's Suicide Note

- In memory of Spalding Gray


They say nothing ever changes
but your point of view.
Nothing – “some thing
that has no existence” –
this makes no sense.
I sit in the catacumbas
and listen to the rain
pound the papaya leaves –
my skin like confetti,
my heart a cheap lottery.

I have seen the tiger’s stripes –
they live between
the fine linen sheets
of an office-girl’s bed,
in the afternoon fumblings
of someone who is no-one,
with a heart bursting
like a red balloon
on a tap – the pieces fly
in all directions, you cover
your face with your hand,
and it sticks to your skin
like confetti, like phosphorus
launched from a Greek warship,
like the skin of a plum
peeled by a broken nail.



Previously published in Nimrod (2005 Pablo Neruda Prize honorable mention)


435569-1589686-thumbnail.jpgAlex Grant’s book Chains & Mirrors(NCWN/Harperprints) won the 2006 Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize and the 2007 Oscar Arnold Young Award (Best North Carolina poetry collection; click here to view a video of the awards ceremony reading.) His new collection, The White Book, has just been released by Main St. Rag Publishing. He received Kakalak’s 2006 Poetry Prize and WMSU’s 2004 Pavel Srut Poetry Fellowship, and has been a recent runner-up or finalist for Discovery/The Nation, The Pablo Neruda Prize, the Arts & Letters Poetry Prize, and The Dorset, Brittingham, Felix Pollak, Tupelo Open and Lena-Miles Wever Todd book Prizes, among others. His poems have appeared or are upcoming in numerous national journals and anthologies, including Meridian’s Best New Poets 2007. Alex Grant was also recently interviewed by Frank Stasio for the program "The State of Things". (To listen to the podcast click here.) A native Scot, he lives in Chapel Hill, NC, with his wife Tristi, his dangling participles and his Celtic fondness for excess.