Friday 13 November 2020

Carrie Etter, "The Shooting Gallery"

Carrie Etter grew up in Normal, Illinois, lived in southern California for thirteen years, and moved to England in 2001. She has published four collections of poetry, most recently The Weather in Normal (UK: Seren; US: Station Hill, 2018), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and a pamphlet of flash fiction, Hometown (V. Press, 2016). Her latest pamphlet is The Shooting Gallery (Verve, 2020), which you can read about below. Individual poems have appeared in Boston Review, The New Republic, The New Statesman, The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem, Poetry Review, The Times Literary Supplement, and elsewhere. Her website is here.


About The Shooting Gallery

The Shooting Gallery juxtaposes two series of prose poems: one responding to Czech surrealist artist Toyen's The Shooting Gallery (1939-40), a series of line drawings bringing together imagery of childhood and war; and one responding to US school and university shootings since Columbine High School in 1999. Both series explore the surreality and starkness of this conjunction of youth and violence. You can read an extract from The Shooting Gallery below. You can read more about the pamphlet, and order it here

From The Shooting Gallery

Normal Community High School, Illinois, 2012

At first, what rattled / was the proximity, the intimacy— / gunfire only a mile from / my family home. For days I wore the knowledge / like chain mail, my torso / heavier, my shoulders / newly weighted. I Googled. I found in my town Darnall’s Gun Works & Ranges, C.I. Shooting Sports. I found photos of / the aftermath, the brawny teacher leading a column of students / away, away, / the huddled parents, waiting, the / reunions, the mother and son— / — / the son’s t-shirt: a drawing of a boy wearing his baseball cap backwards / his eye to the viewfinder / of a machine gun, its long belt of cartridges ready— / mother
and son and his t-shirt—this / is where I come from.

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