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Poet Alex Lemon inspires bookstore crowd

By Brendon Field
On March 24, 2014

  • Alex Lemon read excerpts from his latest book “The Wish Book” at the Co-op Monday evening before hosting a Q&A with the audience. ASHLEY TRINH/The Daily Campus

Poet Alex Lemon shared several excerpts from his newest publication "The Wish Book" at the Co-op Bookstore Monday evening.
Lemon's poems contain dense imagery that often focus on the theme of mortality, which he attributes to health problems and a series of strokes he suffered while attending college. One of his pieces reads, "We're a parade of illness, many of us will wander out of the front door and never be found."
Part of Lemon's newest book is centered on his new experiences with fatherhood. One of his poems is titled "After the World Did Not End," written following the false Mayan apocalypse, explores Lemon's feelings about soon having to care for another life, when he was struggling to care for his own. His poetry is heavily cryptic, one poem, titled "Wearing A Dead Man's Sunglasses At The Zoo," consisted on the surface of a series of unique observations, "Standing in line to see the komodo dragon is like finding the right balance of dark matter."
In a question and answer session following the reading, Lemon said that when he began writing, his poetry was narrative and literal, describing a solitary event. But as his writing evolved, he has explored deeper realms of poetry. He says he uses "overly rich" imagery because that's how he experiences the world. He also said it walks a tightrope between ecstasy and horror, and seeks to find as much as possible between the two emotions. "There's never just a black and white, there's a grey area that is hugely deep."
Martina Powell, a 6th-semester women, gender and sexuality studies major, said, "I thought all the poems were beautiful, a lot of them were very sensory. When I hear it read to me I feel a different sensation than when I read it."
Laurencia Ciprus, an 8th-semester English major, agreed, saying "he creates a delightful paradigm shift with the nuanced surprise in each verbal tense."
Lemon has published three previous books of poetry: "Mosquito," "Hallelujah Blackout" and "Fancy Beasts." He has also published a memoir titled, "Happy," which Lemon said was ironic. His poetry has been featured in "Esquire," "American Poetry Review" and Best American Poetry."

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