Some celebrities detail their own wardrobe. Thibault Raoult’s «Pro(m)bois(e)» works like a failed rocket scientist turned aesthete warming up to detail the entirety of his brain. Too casually brilliant to sound like nonsense, Raoult’s poems are also too brilliant, and too far out there, to resemble any poems we have seen yet on this planet… But «Pro(m)bois(e)», as far up in the ether as language gets, also tastes of our daily dirt… When I first read Raoult’s poems ten years ago, I thought he was an old man from some obscure trajectory of the French avant-garde, not a kid in his twenties from Rochester, New York. But nowadays he’s a man in space, with the mouth of a slap-happy oracle sending messages back to us: “When two worlds flare in a stranger/They say fossils will take over New Boise,/Assume anything.”
Dear reader, Thibault Raoult’s poetry potlatch is for you and you and you. Sweet surgeon, Raoult’s scalpel is a feather. He tickles your delight levers with cleverness—wows with somatic engines both aerial and astral. Eat your kidneys out, Hesiod. Hey, eat your liver out, Shelley. It’s Raoult’s turn to dandle the heir of the air on fire upon his versifying knee. Yes, this exquisite myth resewing drifts at us like volcanic ash or jetsam or gypsum—true, Raoult’s language way is spare, supple, effulgent. But the cultures of love will clabber in the end—won’t they. And Raoult’s horizon’s hem does ahem—in the end. In the meankindtime, dear reader, you will do well to get in the way of these nimble lines: let ’em dissolve into you a la snow upon the tongue. I’ll say this: the next time I drown, I’ll be secreting this book in a backpocket: rare and saving buoy; every word an antidote to turgid—and true.
Thibault Raoult is the author of Person Hour (2011) and Disposable Epics (2014). He lives in Athens, Georgia, where he performs as Historic Sunsets and works at The Georgia Review.
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