Nicole Callihan's book, "SuperLoop" comes out Feb. 20. Credit: Hillery Stone/Re Jin Lee
Poetry often gets a bad rep. Poems written by the greats, like Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe, are often deemed too depressing and somber. But lighthearted poetry about love or the beauty of a quiet snowfall are often written off as too frilly and not profound enough.
It's rare that someone gets it right, but Nicole Callihan has managed the feat in her new book "SuperLoop," out Feb. 20. Callihan's poetry juxtaposes the happy and the sad while exploring themes from her childhood that most everyone can relate to.
Capturing the innocence of early life through a grown-up lens, she writes about sweet first kisses and hard realizations, like when she first discovered that her parents had flaws. The book's title poem is about riding a roller coaster, and Callihan gave Metro readers the first look:
The SuperLoop Port-a-potties sit dumb as ducks in a row while I fly by carnival-style-mad on a three ticket ride in the Texas sky. I lose my sandals on the swings, give long eyes to bumper car boys for a free go around 'til I slam into unexpectant mothers who try to smile — twelve toothed and weary of no-name cigarettes.
This is the way the Tilt-a-Whirl ends not with a smile but with a nice ass whisper.
And a flower-fisted girl tells me eatin' armadillos'll make ya vomit while her dixie-flag-clad brother fills my iced tea and her arch-back daddy says the only things in life worth breathing over are women, horses and reincarnation.
Check out Nicole Callihan's tips for crafting the perfect poem:
Get in the right mindset: "Take a walk. Drink something warm. Curse at winter. Nurse the hangover or the sick parent or the baby. Shuttle the kids off to school. Do whatever it takes to clear the mind."
On what mood you should be in: "For me, it's just the feeling that matters. As long as I'm actively feeling and not wandering around with my thumb on my iPhone and head in the clouds, I find I have access to poems."
On formatting and prose: "Listen to the breath; it rarely leads you astray. Let the lines fall where they may."
What a poem should accomplish: "Some poems are ding-dongs; some are foie gras. A poem should be exactly what it is. It should be and be and be."
Who to share your poetry with: "All poems are meant to be shared. Maybe not with everyone, but someone — even if it's just your mother."
Poetry party Celebrate the release of "SuperLoop" with Nicole Callihan Feb. 20, 7 p.m. Poets House 10 River Terrace, 212-431-7920 www.poetshouse.org