James Meetze

James Meetze (Poetry) | San Diego, CA

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James Meetze [Metz] is the author of three books of poetry, including Phantom Hour and Dayglo, which was selected by Terrance Hayes as winner of the 2010 Sawtooth Poetry Prize, both published by Ahsahta Press. He is also the editor, with Simon Pettet, of Other Flowers: Uncollected Poems by James Schuyler (FSG, 2010) and author of Transcending Genre: An Introduction to the Elements of Creative Writing (Bridgepoint, 2015). His work has appeared in five chapbooks and numerous publications, including AGNI, A Public Space, American Letters & Commentary, Prelude, The Rattling Wall, and New American Writing, among others. He spends his time between Los Angeles and San Diego, where he teaches creative writing and film studies at Ashford University and, with Ken White, writes for film and television.


Phantom Hour (Ahsahta Press, 2016). Poetry.
Dayglo (Ahsahta Press, 2011). Poetry.
I Have Designed This For You (Editions Assemblage, 2007). Poetry.

Blurbs, Press & Reviews

“In Phantom Hour, his third full-length collection of poetry, James Meetze continues his brutal investigation of metaphysics, following thoughts in mesmerizing lines of poetry as if doing so might indeed lead to meaning beyond musings. The goal of this particular book, though, is to understand whether the image or the memory of the image is more valuable, and to do so without being sidetracked by the foreboding sense that there may be no value at all. Or as Meetze himself puts it, ‘There is no quick brown fox to jump / over anything. / I’ve been outfoxed. / I’m waiting for something to arrive / in the phantom hour.’ This is a brilliantly philosophical collection of stunning long-form poems. I wish I had written it.”
—Jericho Brown, author of The New Testament

“Unflinchingly honest. Heartbreakingly sincere. In Phantom Hour, James Meetze has written the tremendous joy and grief that is living with memory’s ever-fading light: ‘The myth of god in the lapse of memory is released, out of love, for the truth and the desire to bring it light.’ Part meditation, part lament, Meetze grapples with the loss of his father’s memory—and the hold he has on his own. To read this book is to remember the spark that connects you to all souls past and present, and to the words you use to call out to them. Phantom Hour will make you weep for its beauty, veracity, and bravery—but most of all for its love.”
—kathryn l. pringle, author of fault tree

“‘Poetry is the darkest art,’ James Meetze writes in Phantom Hour, but the lines in this brilliant collection flash with an incandescence at once peculiar and vital. The poems brim with light—the light of Southern California and the interior light of the mind—and become a primer on how and why to sing in a world beleaguered by artifice, war, and doubt. Meetze limns the edges and undercurrents of our present-time condition for the relief of song: ‘I can say dark because I know / how light happens; every filament / burns toward its end like we do.’ Phantom Hour is a book that returns to you, as you return to it.”
—Joseph Massey, author of Illocality

“Think of Thoreau inhabiting a city like San Diego, perhaps on a beach where ‘when brightness becomes your halo / it’s just sun / and nothing holy,’ and you will have a sense of the wonders of this collection. . . . Like the images of (sun)light and water that recur throughout Dayglo, James Meetze is a poet of irrepressible latitude and depth.”
—Terrance Hayes, judge of the 2010 Sawtooth Poetry Prize

“James Meetze is, in some sense, a ‘landscape poet,’ except that his landscape includes ‘FA-18 Hornets’ that ‘boom above the freeway / as eucalyptus leaves rustle.’ He has a feel for his hometown, which is also mine. In fact, San Diego, with its ahistorical ‘Dayglo’ pastels, best glimpsed in passing from a freeway, is where we all live now, somehow, or soon will. James Meetze is a poet for this time and place.”
—Rae Armantrout

“Meetze’s Dayglo is a conscious artifact of writing, the way lyric experience changes and is changed by the act of writing, by the object of the book. These poems speak out of a deep sense of isolation, an isolation of place, memory, and desire. Meetze’s work resonates with the best traditions of the west coast, Jack Spicer, George Stanley, and Robin Blaser, as well as that of New York, especially the work of James Schuyler, to make something wholly his own. The sun over everything, beautiful and merciless.”
—Ryan Murphy

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