John Leax | Tabloid News | Gazelle Books

One afternoon when poet John Leax was standing in a grocery store checkout queue, a tabloid news headline beckoned: ‘Leaping Turtles Invade US’. As he looked more closely at the accompanying image, two lines sprang into his imagination: Suppose one could believe the tabloid headlines; Suppose the stories under them were true; Leax later wrote that ‘true story’. Then he wrote another. And another. They are all collected in “Tabloid News”. As he wrote, Leax explored two linked impulses that he found in the tabloids: desire and fear. We desire connection to beings other than ourselves. Yet we fear what we do not know-what is alien or different from us. In poems like ‘Baby Born with Antlers’, ‘Dog Makes $60 Million Modelling’ and ‘Duck Hunters Shoot Angel’ Leax grapples with this conflict between desire and fear humorously, chillingly, poignantly and artfully. If you have ever been attracted — or repelled — by a tabloid news headline, these poems are for you. Continue reading