Contributor’s Marginalia: Amit Majmudar on “Fly” by Richie Hofman
There’s a “20 under 40” list The New Yorker has for novelists, but if there were a “15 under 30” list for poets, Richie Hofmann would be on it. It seems the Poetry Foundation agrees with me on that.
“Fly” begins in Pliny and ends in love. Not a bad natural history for a poem.
The compound Epcot-center eye of the fly is the perfect rabbit’s foot against blindness. I would keep a cockroach against death.
The title, “Fly,” refers both to the insect—and the “flighty” lover. Daphne flies from Apollo. Tempus—fidgets—
Verse itself is an “elaborate ritual” against the fleetingness of utterance. Hoffman is capable of elaborate rituals indeed: cf. his poem “Illustration from Parsifal” in The New Criterion, which is a preternaturally perfect example of anagrammatic rhyme. Formal flexibility is a greater virtue than formal ease. Hoffmann displays both in his rapidly growing body of work.
Amit Majmudar is a diagnostic nuclear radiologist who lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and twin sons. His poetry and prose have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Best American Poetry anthology (2007, 2012), The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-2012, Poetry Magazine, Granta, Poetry Daily and several other venues, including the 11th edition of the Norton Introduction to Literature. This is his third appearance in an issue of 32 Poems. His first poetry collection, 0′, 0′, was released by Northwestern in 2009 and was a finalist for the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Faber First Book Award. His second poetry collection, Heaven and Earth, was selected by A. E. Stallings for the 2011 Donald Justice Prize. He blogs for the Kenyon Review and is also a critically acclaimed novelist. Visit www.amitmajmudar.com for details.