Teaching Notes for The Hand Implements:
Use in the classroom to discuss: “tools” as writing constraint; adversarial energy; estrangement; narrating interior spaces; architectural structures; segmented narratives; titling as a formal element; characters conditioned by circumstance and environment; poetic/economical language; lyrical writing; literature of the mountainous West; presence of mineral elements; place studies; regionalism; “gleeking”; somber explorations of masculinity; gender (roles); patriarchy; partnership; furtive performances of the personal; bodies as material objects; destructive actions.
Pairs well with The Storm That Bears Your Name, Reports, Mother Tongues.
The Hand Implements by Danilo John Thomas
What’s in the West, besides basins and ranges? What warps there, beneath the broken rock of the mountains? A screwdriver. A wrench. Axes. Hammers. These are the objects that oxidize. These are the objects that imprint skin. These are The Hand Implements. In five melancholy meditations and tales, Danilo John Thomas knaps rock into something sharp enough to cut. His men make fists and fight; his men fashion forms that beat with the velocity of an enclosed muscle; his men invite us to drink ourselves down past drunk and mourn what we could have had, had we truly known how to hold our tools in our hands.