Take Out Delivery, by Paul Siegell
In Take Out Delivery, you get it all: NASA & NASCAR, Courtney Love keying Odysseus’ kayak, soft hot pretzels twisting into ampersands. In these poems, Siegell is part jester, part messenger—a pinball wizard whose writing ricochets off seemingly everything. These are exuberant, encyclopedic poems, & reading them feels like being at a fireworks show whose explosions morph into exposé, whose riffs of light & boom contort into a quixotic biopic of our world.
These poems are our bodies—yours, mine, the dead. Dare to read one out loud. They do more than speak in other tongues; they set ours aflame. We are, as Siegell’s achievement teaches us, so connected we cannot help but hear each other’s frequencies and heartbeats, over the phone and in our dreams. And we need this book, now more than ever, to remind us that amidst the noise of division there is space for true connection. Witty and unrelenting, these poems are of their own world, yet uniquely about our own.
Tameka Cage Conley
The sheer propulsion of Take Out Delivery—shaped and swarmed by a thicket of allusions, from literary giants Stein and O’Hara to denizens of the Philadelphia poetry scene, ’90s grunge music, and a Meow Mix jingle; and insistently grounded in luminous edges of the relational city, as in the achingly lyrical line “the birdgirl waits with a weight in her ribcage”—stuns and animates with its velocity. Between its paratactic prose poems and its minimalist poetry comics, which track the machinations of “hot pepper people” as if they were a kind of chorus to its speaker’s journey across town, Take Out Deliveryjams its finger on the central contradiction of punctuation: it starts, stops, segments and joins all at once, bringing to the surface the way language can tear us apart and bring us back together again.