John Yau

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John YauJohn Yau is a poet, fiction writer, art critic and curator with more than 30 books to his credit. His writing cuts across the lines of genre to see how “multiple identities are rooted in language.” He was recently made Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French government for his service to the arts. His criticism includes United States of Jasper Johns and In the Realm of Appearances: the Art of Andy Warhol; his books of poetry; Borrowed Love Poems, Radiant Silhouette, and Edificio Sayonara.


A Sheaf of Pleasant Voices

There are rooftops
made of cloud remnants

gathered by a trader
dabbling in car parts and burlap

At night, I dive onto the breeze
fermenting above the dirt

and dream that I am a crocodile
a tin of shoe polish, an audience of two

In the morning, before the smallest yawn
becomes a noodle, I am offered

a ribbon of yellow smoke
I opt for fuzzy rocks and clawed water

and, of course, the perishable window
I am one of the last computer

chain errors to be illuminated
I tell you there are rooftops

on which the moon stops
being a cold jewel

And one by one the mountains
begin their descent from

the chambers of a lost book



Reading with David Antin | November 11, 2002
Talking Poetics, Naming Identities