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Best Local Poet

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On dorothealasky.com, Dorothea Lasky‘s Technicolor Tumblr, a Nicki Minaj video huddles comfortably beside a collage by John Ashbery, next to Lasky’s own erasure poem made from the fragments of a conversation about NSA spying. It’s a visual rendering of the sensibility that informs work by the assistant professor of poetry at Columbia University and, just as much, of the thing she battles against: the idea that poetry is austere, solemn, or boring by default. In her fourth collection of poems, ROME, published this fall, Lasky writes that poetry can be hard for some people because “speaking to the dead is not something you want to do/When you have other things to do in your day/Like take out the trash or use the vacuum/In the edge between the stove and cupboard.” Reading Lasky doesn’t feel anything like speaking to the dead, or like drudgery — it feels like the opposite. So maybe it’s no wonder that Lasky was asked by McSweeney’s to co-edit Open the Door, a book about getting young people excited about poetry. To soak up some of her vibrance in person, check out the Multifarious Array, the poetry night Lasky co-curates at Pete’s Candy Store (709 Lorimer Street; 718-302-3770; petescandystore.com) in Williamsburg.

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