November 08, 2010

Nesting & a Poet Lore Gem

Home for a precious few days, which have consisted of: sleeping for 10 hours straight, Netflixing Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, watching my sister work the silks at Trapeze School, seeing the new (and gorgeous) Arena Stage for a play with family, eating chicken with leeks & hot peppers at the suspiciously named "Jenny's Asian-Fusion" on the Waterfront (but actually, it was quite good!), seeing friends visiting from Seattle and Princeton, laundry, restocking my home scotch bar, and trying desperately (and failing) to catch up on all the poets to whom I owe feedback on poems. 

On Wednesday I hit the road again. Two readings coming up--Atlanta and the Emory Poetry Council's Series on Thursday (November 11), New York City and Cornelia Street Cafe two Sundays from now (November 21). Would love to see you if you're in the neighborhood. I think the evening at Cornelia Street, which will feature pianist Inna Faliks and poet Oni Buchanan, will really be something special. 

Also, earlier today I ran across a fantastic poem in the new Poet Lore. Poet Lore is the oldest continuously operating journal of literature in the United States--founded in 1889--and we are proud to host it out of the Writer's Center. You can always count on each issue to be jam-packed with work by a refreshing mix of emerging and established voices, as well as a reviews section. Enjoy this sneak peek from the Fall 2010 issue:


It is puzzling--no one sees the snow falling
in the field. I am all alone, the field must
think. Except for the snow, of course,
which is a companion only in the sense
that it comes down silently. The sadness
of a field is commensurate with the way
the shortleaf pines or the junipers
or the paper birches offer their bodies 
as boundaries, which is another way 
of saying they exist as contrast. 

My father wrote two books about New Zealand,
one about Abel Janszoon Tasman,
one about Hongi Hika. He wrote them
on an enclosed porch that overlooked
our Michigan back yard, and our one strict rule
was that if he was sitting before
his typewriter we were not allowed
to be anywhere he could see us.
So that is why, of course, my most vivid
memory of early childhood is of knocking
one evening on the porch window to show him
how many fireflies I had collected
in an old pickle jar. My mother told me once
that in every moment of his life
my father was half listening to us
and half to a little dog of anguish.
My father typed and typed and did not
seem to hear that I was knocking,
and the expression on his face
was like the snow that drifts down
to this field tonight and covers everything. 

-Doug Ramspeck

I'm really interested in this poem's balance between the generalities of landscape in stanza one and the swerve toward precise, yet conversational diction that opens stanza two. Plus that gorgeous ending! I actually knew Doug Ramspeck's name because he won the 2007 John Ciardi Prize for Poetry, which led to his collection Black Tupelo Country being published by BkMk Press. That press is always on my radar, and I'd even applied for that prize with what became Theories of Falling. Always funny when you read the work of someone who "beat" you and think Damn, he deserved it. 

1 comment:

bill said...

A headline on caught my eye:

Beasley's career night lifts Wolves over Kings

Not a bad prompt.