Since far too often we only publicly say nice things about people when they are dead I’ve decided to randomly pick a Facebook friend every day and say something nice about them.
June 25, 2019
Today’s person: Susanna Mishler!
I am not a poetry person. Yes, I took the typical adolescent stab at pained teenage literary angst before switching to short horror stories, then to anti-Capitalist comedies, but poetry - not my thing. I have read exactly two entire books of poetry.
One of them was Susanna’s.
I met Susanna at the Djerassi Art Center, where we were both Fellows. She was fun, serious, and she wasn’t always trying to come up with something “interesting” for all of us to do. I liked that. She was an unflamboyant craftsperson whose creations were truly beautiful visions.
Her dayjob is electrician, and much of her poetry is finding the overlap of patterns between the seemingly freeform world of nature and emotions and the ordered structure and decay of our human constructions. I know it sounds unexpected, but she has poetry about circuitry that expresses a greater and more in-depth celebration and search for the meaning of life than most poems I’ve seen about gardens. By juxtaposing the hard realities of human construction on the human psyche and nature as an expression of humanity, by finding the natural/unnatural beauty in the birth, working, decay, and destruction of one of the most fundamental aspects of modern life - construction - and the blood that flows through it - electricity - Susanna is showing us that our human-made world is the modern Frankensteinian creation that can be a manifestation of our most beautiful or most ugly selves.
It’s hard to put it into words. You really have to read it.
We don’t make plants, or animals, or the sky, but we do make buildings. And electricity is the blood of our creations. Susanna’s work examines, deconstructs, and celebrates this most distinctly human creation in a uniquely beautiful, amazing way.
The other one was Poe.