Limited edition of 150 numbered copies
5"x7", 40 pp, pbk | October 2010
Cover art by Jono Tosch
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Scratch is a collection of offbeat narratives, broken logic and weather reports, hats and pontoons, a little fact, a little awe and confusion. Four men with rhyming names can't manage to leave the house. A driver takes a wrong turn. An amnesiac attempts a memoir. Everything's a bit crooked, tending toward the unexpected, and the characters, wherever they are, are never quite at home.
Scratch proves beyond a reasonable doubt that James Haug is one hell of a Mystery writer. That’s “Mystery” with a capital “M,” which is to say Haug is a real poet with many anonymous sources whispering in his ear. He deftly uses some of the same devices found in a good thriller or police procedural. There’s the plainspoken narratives that propel the reader through the twilight twists and turns of the fabular landscapes of Scratch and past a rogue’s gallery of unreliable witnesses, but like any gumshoe worth his day rate, this poet doesn’t pretend to know the answers. It’s all about the questions, the great investigation that surprises and delights us all.
Poems from Scratch
may be found in Bateau, Conduit, Crying Sky, Lake Effect, Margie, notnostrums, Slope, Strange Machine, and Worcester Review.
The band unpacked under the band shell.
You passed through twelve towns to get there.
A scar ran up a distant hill.
Electrical towers. Interference
fraying the airwaves. The view was
priceless, or worthless—I’m not sure
about mirages—but the end kept
vanishing each time you approached it.
Foxfire, you guessed. The Dollar Store.
You were mistaken for someone else,
for whom the band struck up a tune.
It felt that good to be nowhere.
About the Author
James Haug is the author of Legend of the Recent Past, Walking Liberty, and The Stolen Car, as well as two chapbooks, Fox Luck and A Plan of How to Catch Amanda. He is a recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.