I Love Information
I Love Information, selected by Brian Teare as a winner of the 2022 National Poetry Series, is a vigorous examination of knowledge, belief, and which begets which.
Egret feathers. Pulverized chickpeas. A “faint but constant series of ovals and lines” that, remarkably, spell the name Penelope. “Nobody owns the meaning of these things,” Courtney Bush writes, but this does not stop the poet from seeking, from “reading meaning in the garbage” and in the flowers growing there. What does she seek? Not facts. Instead, something transcendent and mysterious, knowledges that can only be unlocked through experimentation with language, with art.
In lieu of linear thought, Bush’s poems operate under unique logic systems that grow and branch like vines, driven not only by the urge to learn but also by the need for connection—between people, things, stories. Her speakers make cognitive leaps with youthful credulity, eager and open. “It comes down to a few things,” says one. “Vessels and bags / Every crude tool / Every day a friend to tell.” And another: “I want to tell you what a sword is. / To want to tell you has been my entire life.” They are explorers of the pathways between our outer and inner worlds, translators between what is and what could be.
In order to learn, these poems suggest, we must believe the not-known is worth knowing. We must let belief hover around all parts of our lives, as a child does. “To have the idea of the secret chord is to have the secret chord,” Bush writes. To learn, we must make believe.
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Praise and Prizes
“A paradise of non sequiturs, I Love Information might contain ‘poems forked as a devil road,’ but each one proves a jump cut’s the quickest way to a ‘kind of heaven of facts without context, clean sources of light.’ A seeker who settles for nothing less than maximum amplitude, Courtney Bush heads ever toward ‘things so mysterious we shouldn’t bother with explaining,’ her poems a means to ‘entering sacred time recklessly,’ now with the gusto and bumptious charm of Christopher Smart, now with the sibylline intelligence of Rilke, and always with the antic candor of a digital native. Information at root means to give form to, and I too love the way these exciting, excitable poems give new form to the world I think I know by revealing the plurality of worlds quickly spinning within it."
“I Love Information by Courtney Bush renders the bent and bendable logics of friendship, work, art, and love with startling wit and depth of feeling. I love the unpredictable angles of arrival Bush’s poems make shapes with, and the concise quality of their visual acuity. These poems include, adopt, memorialize, and let spread an expansive populace of voices and beings—they are totally open, and that openness establishes their ground. This is an amazing book.”
“‘I do not want to be crazy / about the circle whose center is everywhere.’ So begins Courtney Bush’s I Love Information, a book of revelation—and of risk. Here is a poet who has entered the crucible of madness in her pursuit of ‘some internal logic strong enough to believe in’ and come back to tell us about the songs the angels sing in ‘the space between everything.’ Touching down in preschool classrooms in which the poet has taught, the Mississippi Gulf Coast of her childhood, and intimate vignettes of love and friendship along the way, these oracular, incantatory poems prove the world worthy of the quest.”