by Dave Wheeler
It begins with a tweet. Or, no. It begins with Arthur Rimbaud — a photocopy of Arthur Rimbaud — rather, his face on a figure near a glass dessert case — rather, a photo David Wojnarowicz (new object of my obsession) took of someone wearing Rimbaud’s face.
Anyway, I was vaguely sure I’d heard of Alex Dimitrov’s debut book of poetry when my colleague, Kenny, foisted it upon me. And whether it was Twitter or the melancholy cover tableau or the eager, near-militant recommendation that got me reading Begging For It we’ll never know. It was probably all three (it usually is).
Because I didn’t just read Begging For It: I set aside an afternoon, made sure no one else was home, poured a heavy glass of wine, and read aloud. To the dog. (She’s a good listener.) Line by line I uttered these delectable syllables saturated with sass, sorrow, sex, and sometimes all three. It felt like the oral equivalent to automatic writing. Like I was possessed with Dimitrov’s spirit, at once incisive and visceral.
I prefer to read poetry aloud. When I read silently, I often overlook the aural dimension to its pleasure. And I’ve never really “devoured” a book of poems. I usually take them like small, soft hits of intoxicants. To buoy me just so.
My day with Alex Dimitrov, though, I took gluttonous, decadent swallows, recklessly reaching a powerful high I haven’t come down from yet. Dimitrov is a smart young poet, as promising as a guy in his late-twenties can say of someone else in his late-twenties, and exhibits a preternatural enough ingenuity to cultivate a queer salon of poets and writers in the heart of New York City, called Wilde Boys.
Kenny’s not getting his book back anytime soon, because I’m reading it again. Because I’m crushing as hard as I did when I was a schoolboy. Laws of diminishing returns do not apply here. Dimitrov’s book is aptly titled, Begging For It, as in: once you try it, you will be.
(This book trailer may not be suitable for all ages or work environments. But live a little why don’t you.)