Sandbox, by william erickson-Print Books-Bottlecap Press

Sandbox, by william erickson

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Poetry, chapbook, 32 pages, from Bottlecap Features.

Sandbox is a sequence of poems about the internet. About violence and the violence of images. About keeping ghosts in the wires we plug into the screens. The poems began as reactions to a single, blurry photograph of the death of an American activist protesting the destruction of Palestinian homes in Gaza. The reactions bloom into the landscape of conflict documented widely across the internet. Into the gardens planted for the colonizing gaze. Into the forest of documented and documenting violence. Into the flattened plane of bodies and ghosts, clickable and permanent.

The poems in Sandbox move between surreal images and sounds within barren landscapes—deserts, courtrooms, computer monitors. Their spareness is also their strangeness, as they encounter death like the small bit of sand that swirls over the soldier’s boot. Concerned with what it means to document death and conflict in such accessible ways, william’s small collection asks what it means that our ghosts, too, live still on the internet.

Sandbox is a close-up rendering, homed on a single image, of colonialist violence and its uninterrupted documentation, using the unspeakable image as a lens for looking, exploring what it means to take in the atrocity, notice it, speak about it, and move on. As an echo does. Never chipping a stone from the cliff off which it glances.

william erickson is a living poet. His work appears in Sixth Finch, Heavy Feather, West Branch, Afternoon Visitor, and many other pubs. william is a 2023 Best New Poet nominee, the author of two other chapbooks—Nothing Lied Still on the Sea (forthcoming, Tilted House Press) and Monotonies of the Wildlife (Finishing Line 2022)—and his debut collection is forthcoming with April Gloaming in 2024. He lives in Washington with his partner and their two dogs in an old house across the street from a large tree.