Shopping Cart

BOA Blog

← Back to All Posts

Poem from COPIA featured in NYT Magazine

Copia_Bookstore Erika Meitner's poem "Outside the Abandoned Packard Plant," from her recent BOA book Copia, was featured in Sunday's New York Times Magazine. The poem was selected by former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey as the newly relaunched magazine's poem of the week. According to the feature, "There is a driving rhythm in this poem — the industry of crickets, the forward motion of the lines — even as there is no man-made machinery at work in the defunct auto plant. The contrast between the two heightens the tension between what is lost and the image, in the last line, of a possible future." Erika Meitner's fourth book grapples with the widespread implications of commercialism and over-consumption, particularly in exurban America. Documentary poems originally commissioned by Virginia Quarterly Review examine the now-bankrupt city of Detroit, once the thriving heart of the American Dream. Meitner probes the hulking ruins of office buildings, tract housing, superstores, construction sites, and freeways--exposing a vacuous world of decay and abandonment--while holding out hope for re-birth from ashes.

Outside the Abandoned Packard Plant

By Erika Meitner

closed fifty-four years, the crickets are like summer, are like night

in a field, but it is daytime. It is August. There is no pastoral in sight — only

Albert Kahn’s stripped factory, acres of busted and trembling brick facade

so vast there must be thousands of crickets rubbing their wings

beneath makeshift thresholds of PVC piping tangled in ghetto palm saplings

growing through a deflated mattress top tossed over rusted industrial metal the shape

of an elephant dropped on its knees dispensing invisible passengers into

moats of rubble dappled with what? These crickets, their industrious wings

mimicking silence and song, lonely background, until one beat-up maroon

Buick flies down Concord, accelerating like the road just keeps going, like he’ll

actually get away with whatever he’s doing, then two white cop cars, Doppler sirens

shrieking and braiding, but it is peaceful other than that — you might think

you’re in the country as in not the city as in wilderness under the bridge that used to say

MOTOR CITY INDUSTRIAL PARK and now just punched out eyes and ARK Click here to see the New York Times Magazine feature. Erika Meitner's Copia is available at the BOA Bookstore.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published