July 8, 2010

Ange Mlinko

Ange Mlinko [USA]
1969

Ange Mlinko was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. She earned her under-graduate degree in Philosophy and Math-ematics at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Brown University.

In 1996 Lift Books published a chapbook, Immediate Orgy and Audit. It attracted the attention of the Boston-based publisher Roland Pease, whose Zoland Books brought out her first full-length book Matinees in 1999. It received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was named one of its Best Books at the end of that year.

Her second volume, Starred Wire, was selected for the 2004 National Poetry Series by Bob Holman for Coffee House Books . It was also a finalist for the James Laughlin Award, and garnered mentions in national publications.

Mlinko's poetry is often linked to the influence of Frank O'Hara and John Ashbery, with its love of language and urban contemporary life, but she thinks of herself as reverse-engineering the New York School back to Marianne Moore, Stevens, Williams, and Crane and then bringing it all back to the very brink of the present.


BOOKS OF POETRY

Immediate Orgy and Audit (Boston: Lift Books, 1996); Matinees (Boston: Zoland Books, 1999); Starred Wire (Minneapolis: Coffee House Books, 2004)



Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
2005-2006



Everything’s Carousing


Even the baroque gets lost in it.
Grass vests the dirt lest wind, twanging the skyscrapers

that merely sleeve the elevators, as we go sleeveless
except for the atmosphere, file it under Oceans.

Recalling the equations derived for ballistics —
aiming cannonballs is not like squaring lintels,

and skyscrapers are all lintel.
There isn’t a straight line amidst all these that never meet;

I will write away for it. A sound that breaks
“the record and the tie with the most singles in a season.”

Sparrows petulantly, like petals, adding subtracting
to crumbstrewn cafe tables, then boarding the ferries.


____
Reprinted from Jacket, no. 28 (October 2005). Copyright ©2005 by Ange Mlinko.

Catherine Meng

Catherine Meng [USA]
1975

Catherine Meng was born in Teaneck, New Jersey and raised in Newton, Massachusetts.

She received her B.A. in Creative Writing from the College of Santa Fe, a certificate in Culinary Arts from Boston University, and her M.F.A in Creative Writing from the University of Montana, Missoula.

She has resided in Berkeley, California for the past nine years and presently works at a local restaurant. With Lauren Levin and Jared Stanley she co-edits the poetry journal Mrs. Maybe.

Meng's poetry has appeared in numerous journals including Carve, Crowd, Combo, The Boston Review, Fence, Fulcrum, Jubilat, Shampoo, and Slope.

Her first collection of poems, Tonight's the Night was published in 2007 by Apostrophe Books. She also has three chapbooks: 15 Poems in Set of Five, Dokument, and Lost Notebook w/ Letters to Deer.


BOOKS OF POETRY

Tonight's the Night (Apostrophe Books, 2007)


Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
2005-2006


The Circle of the Fifths


The works tastes overwhelmed, like alert palms flanking a full highway.

How you find the grit later in your mouth & wake into

your own enormity. How the work takes an unexpected amount of right turns

that run into the darkness & peter out under abandoned bridges.


To the Massachusetts from which I come, my brother-county racked by cobblestones

that left me sprained, I leave my brain

infused with slick bottom stones where three rivers converge. Men in hip-boots

pull breaching trout from the surface.


The work is as barbarous as bookends. Waterspouts deviated by a tough wind,

as if we could jump up into our wings, hold a pitch to the point of ownership

& scatter as sure as light.


Though I was willingly broken by the grandeur, I made not one exception,

too taken by a trumpet taking stabs at Gershwin, the faults & repeats passing

in on a breeze. Yet I was often awakened by a horrid kind of surprise

into my primary image (a small brook that borders a deaf school).


Having worked a summer holiday for belladonna, I thought my sight was proof.

I believed all the endings curved into the choirmaster’s slender fingers

which formed a closed circle against the darkened faces of the crowd.

Yet I stared at a map for a year & could only remember the colors of countries.


The work followed me like the carcasses of roadkill I counted while passing

through Colorado. Two days in, the toll mounted to unhumorous heights. 284

was lifted from the asphalt by a hawk just before the grille of the car. The work

was like that, both skyward and lifeless.


_____
Reprinted from Boston Review, XXX, no. 6 (November/December 2005). Copyright ©2005 by Catherine Meng.

Connie Deanovich


Connie Deanovich [USA]
1960

Born in 1960, Connie M. Deanovich received her B.A. in English at Columbia College in Chicago in 1983 and her M.A. at DePaul University in Chicago in 1990. From 1983 to 1988 she worked as a publicity coordinator at The Poetry Center at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Upon receiving her M.A., she became a full-time instructor at Kishwaukee College in Malta, Illinois and, from 1992-1993, an adjunct instruction at Elgin Community College in Elgin, Illinois.

In 1997 she was awarded the Whiting Writer’s Award. She had previously received a General Electric Foundation Award for Younger Writers in 1990. In 2000 her work was anthologized in American Poetry: The Next Generation (Carnegie Mellon Universit Press).

In 1996, she published her first collection of poetry, Watusi Titanic and in 1999 Zoland Books published her Zombie Jet. She currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin.


BOOKS OF POETRY

Watusi Titanic (New York: Timken Publishers, 1996); Zombie Jet (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Zoland Books, 1999)

Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
2005-2006


Though We Wanted It to Stay

the building’s audition
was its demolition
lit from beneath by cop cars
an industrial octopus squeezed it to pieces
the orphans clustered by the pay phone
except for the one was smoking
he and his hat sat bow-legged
on the steps

just try breathing normal here

the time is always twilight
the assassins cold as a coin
with a foreign hole in the middle

just try

we may fling out our arms
“this is our world!”
but the world ignores such distractions
its machines go on fluently
like gorgeous quick-footed doctors
and we observe the operation

soon behind a turquoise curtain
we’ll need more food
something simple on a disposable plate
a glass of cold milk to wash it down with
a glance at the sunflowers out back
57 yellow heads
their seeds not yet vanished inside crows

just try making slow go fast go slow

air changes when it wants to
passing from one symphony to another
like a string of sailor’s whistles on a ship departing
massively at first
across the ocean that envelopes it

___
Reprinted from New American Writing, no. 23 (2005). Copyright ©2005 by Connie M. Deanovich.




Nick Piombino

Nick Piombino [USA]
1942

Nick Piombino was born in Manhattan in 1942. His father was a US Army officer so he travelled as a child, living in bombed out Nurnberg, Germany and then in California in the early and mid-fifties.

He graduated from the City College of New York with honors in literature in 1964. In 1967 and 1973 he participated in poetry workshops with Ted Berrigan and Bernadette Mayer. He received his Masters in Social Work from Fordham University School of Social Service in 1971 and in 1982 a Certificate in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy from the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health. He has been in private practice in psychotherapy in Manhattan since 1975, also working in mental hospitals, foster care agencies and public schools.

In addition to writing poetry, critical essays and theory, as well as developing his "theoretical objects," he is an artist who began making collages on a visit to Italy in 1968. His art has been included in group shows at PS 122 and the Marianne Boesky Gallery. His "collage novel" Free Fall, a full color collection of over 100 of his collages was published by Otoliths in 2007.

He has been posting to his blog, fait accompli since February, 2003. He was guest editor of OCHO magazine in 2007 and 2009. His work has been published in numerous anthologies including From The Other Side of the Century, The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book, and In The American Tree.

He is the author of Poems (Sun & Moon Press,1988); Two Essays (Leave, 1992); The Boundary of Blur (Roof, 1993); Light Street (Zasterle, 1996); Theoretical Objects (Green Integer, 1999); The Boundary of Theory (Cuneiform, 2001); Hegelian Honeymoon (Chax, 2004); Fait Accompli (Factory School Heretical Text series, 2007); Free Fall (Otoliths, 2007); Contradicta: Aphorisms [with illustrations by Toni Simon] (Green Integer, 2010)

BOOKS OF POETRY

Poems (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1988); Light Street (Tenerife, Canary Islands: Zasterle, 1996); Hegelian Honeymoon (Tucson, Arizona: Chax, 2004)


Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
1993-1994

from Explications

The Return to Prose

This poem describes the poet's feelings about the poems of a close friend. Beginning with an evocation of sounds of streams and rivers which can be heard but not see, the poet declares that the friend now "refuses to dirty his hands even in flowing water." A flower which flits by in a "blur of yellow and green" becomes the starting place of a melancholy description of the passing nature of all things, even friendships. But ("as it were") the poems created by the two are "preciously connected." Yet even these disappear, when the matter is examined closely, the "many faces of time." Perhaps in the following several lines the poet is being ironic when he writes that only on the page death and life are "interchangeable." "Flickering lights," "momentary villages," "muffled sounds" are all ways of depicting momentary pleasures. In the final passages, the poet recalls the earliest verses of his friend. These were "primitive," "vast," "undifferentiated," yet their "echoed darkness" is what is now best remembered—paralleling the vast blankness of "futureless time" when neither poet will "live in uttered words" but will have joined the "inexplicable silence" of death.

____
Reprinted from Witz (1993). Copyright ©1993 by Nick Piombino.



Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
1994-1995

The Disappearance

I don't even know why it's not there.
I looked among my papers for hours
Remembering a feeling I'd lost long ago.
So many thoughts passed through my mind
I couldn't hold on to one of them.
There were pictures I'd misplaced,
Photographs of faces which are landmarks in my life,
Letters received and letters never sent,
Souvenirs, a few forgotten schemes,
Lists of things I've done and never done
Reminders, tokens, dreams.
Perhaps in some other, untracked world
I've never left this scene
Fumbling in a timeless reverie
Among the numbers and the scrawls
Diving and swooping down again
Like gulls and shadows on the sea
In random cries, flights and descents
Towards and away from me.

____
Reprinted from Avec, no. 8 (1994). Copyright ©1994 by Nick Piombino.

July 7, 2010

Ethan Paquin


Ethan Paquin [USA]
1975

Ethan Paquin was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, and raised in Londonderry in the same state.

He graduated from Plymouth (NH) State University and the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he studied with Dara Wier, James Tate, and Tomaz Salamun. In 1999 he founded the influential online literary journal Slope (www.slope.org), and in 2001 co-founded the nonprofit poetry press Slope Editions with Christopher Janke.

Paquin is the author of four books of poems, including The Violence (Ahsahta Press, 2005), which was runner-up for the Poetry Society of America William Carlos Williams Award. A fifth book, tentatively titled Cloud vs. Cloud, is forthcoming from Ahsahta Press.

His poetry has been anthologized in Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (Sarabande Books, 2005); Isn't It Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger American Poets (Wave Books, 2002); French Connections: A Gathering of Franco-American Poets (Louisiana Literature Press, 2006); and Joyful Noise: An Anthology of American Spiritual Poetry (Autumn House Press, 2007). His chapbooks are Deafening Leafening (Pilot, 2009), a series of collaborative sonnets written with Matt Hart; and Nineains (Hand Held Editions, 2008).

After teaching and residing for a time in Buffalo, NY, Paquin moved back to New Hampshire, where he currently instructs at Plymouth State University and Rivier College. An avid hiker, he is currently pursuing several New England peakbagging lists, a pastime around which an ongoing creative nonfiction project revolves. He lives with his wife and children in Nashua.

BOOKS OF POETRY

The Makeshift (Devon, England: Stride Publications, 2002); Accumulus (Cambridge, England: Salt Publishing, 2003); The Violence (Bosie, Idaho: Ahshta Press 2005); My Thieves (Cambridge: Salt Publishing, 2007); Nineains (South Bend, Indiana and Brooklyn, New York: Hand Held Editions, 2008); Deafening Leafening [with Matt Hart] (Florence, Massachusetts: Pilot, 2009)

Jorge Carrera Andrade


Jorge Carrera Andrade [Ecuador]
1903-1978

Jorge Carrera Andrade was born in Quito, Ecuador, the son of a liberal-minded judge. In the atmosphere of his home, Carrera Andrade quickly became aware of the social injustices of his countrymen, particularly those directed against the Ecuadorian Incas. This was much of the subject matter of his early poetry; and would remain with him as he traveled internationally, becoming Ecuador’s representative to UNESCO.

He began his literary career in his early teens, editing the magazine La idea. His first books, published in 1926, were Guirnalda del silencio and Estanque inefable. In 1928, he traveled abroad, studying in France, Germany, and Spain. Throughout the 1930s he remained in France, where he served as editor of the publishing house, Cuadernos del Hombre Neuvo. Beginning in 1940 he served, for several years, as the Ecuadorian consul to San Francisco.

Carrera Andrade's poetry is not experimental nor hermetic, but known for its lucid qualities and for its highly structured forms. "True poetry," as he writes, "is only that which has fallen from combat with the angel." However, his social concerns and the metaphors drawn from his own culture, particularly those of El hombre planetario (1959, The Planetary Man) lends a deep richness of imagery and feeling to his work.

BOOKS OF POETRY

Estanque Inefable (Quito, 1922); Guirnalda del silencio (Quito: Imprenta Nacional, 1926); Boletines de mar y tierra (Barcelona: Cevantes, 1930); El tiempo manual (Madrid: Ediciones Literatura, 1935); Rol de la manzana: Poesías (1926-1929) (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe); La hora de las ventanas iluminadas (Santiago de Chile: Ercilla, 1937); Biografía para uso de lo pájaros (Paris: Duadernos del Hombre Nuevo, 1937); Registro del mundo (Quito: Universidad Central, 1940); País secreto (Tokoyo: published by the author, 1940); Canto al Puente de Oakland/To the Bay Bridge (San Francisco: Hoover Library on War / Stanford University, 1941); Lugar de origen (Caracas: Editiones Suma, 1944); Poesís escogidas (Caracas: Editiones Suma, 1945); Registro del mundo, antologia poetica. 1922-1939 (México: Seneca, 1945); Canto a las fortalezas volantes: Cuaderno del paracaidista (Caracas: Ediciones Destino, 1945); Edades poeticas, 1922-1956 (Quito: Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, 1958); Mi vida en poemas: Ensayo autocritico seguido de una seleccion poetica (Caracas: Ediciones Casa del Escritor, 1962); Hombre planetario (Quito: Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, 1963); Obra poetica completa (Quito: Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, 1976).

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS

Secret Country: Poems, translated by Muna Lee (New York: Macmillan, 1946); Visitor of Mist, trans. by G. R. Coulthard (London: Williams & Norgate, 1950); Selected Pomes of Jorge Carrera Andrade, translated by H. R. Hays (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1972); Century of the Death of the Rose, trans. by Steven Ford Brown (Montgomery, Alabama: New South Books, 2002).

Federico García Lorca


Federico García Lorca [Spain]
1898-1936

Raised in the Moorish city of Granada, Federico García Lorca grew up enchanted by puppets, toy theaters, and theater in general. He attended the University of Granada, where he earned a law degree in 1923. But it was an interruption to his university studies, when he traveled to Madrid where he haunted the Residencia de Estudiantes, that he discovered his true talents. There he met the poets Pedro Salina, Jorge Guillén, and Juan Ramón Jiménez and the painter Salvador Dalí, creating lasting friendships.

It was also during this period that he published his first book of poetry, Libro de poemas (Book of Poems) in 1921. Canciones followed in 1927, much of it written during this same period. In 1929-1930, García Lorca left Spain to live in New York (on the campus of Columbia University), and it was there he wrote the important collection, Poeta en Nueva York (Poet in New York), published after his death. After a short visit to Cuba, he returned to Spain, becoming the head of the theatrical company, La Barraca, an experimental student group set up by the Unión Federal de Estudiantes Hispanos, with subvention by the Republican government.

The company performed a classical repertoire, and further involved him in theater writing. In early 1920, his first play, El maleficio de la mariposa (The Butterfly's Evil Spell) was performed. Although that play was unsuccessful, he followed it with several others in the the late 1920s up until the time of his death. His most notable works include Bodas de sangre (Blood Wedding), first performed in 1933; Yerma (performed in 1934); and La casa de Bernarda Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba), performed after his death.

In February 1936, the new Spanish elections brought to power the Popular Front, an alliance of liberal and leftist parties. An increasing polarization between the right and left was the immediate result, and when a coup d'état failed, civil war began. García Lorca had already made his leftist political positions quite apparent the years just prior to this. In early July, he decided to leave Madrid for a visit to his family in Granada. He arrived in Granada on July 14th; the Spanish military uprising in Africa took place just three days later, and on the 20th the Granada garrison declared their support of Franco and together with the rebel generals took control of the city. A political purge followed, resulting in hundreds of "official" executions, which took place on the city cemetery. On August 16th, after taking up supposedly safe haven in the house of his poet-friend Luis Rosales, Lorca was arrested. As a leftist, a homosexual, and a man of the arts, there was little question in the minds of the Franco supporters that he was a threat. The date of his death by execution is uncertain. But on August 18th or 19th, at the age of 38, he was murdered.

BOOKS OF POETRY

Libro de poemas (Madrid: Maroto, 1921); Canciones (Málaga, Spain: Litoral/Imprenta Sur, 1927); Primer romancero gitano (Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1928); Poema del cante jondo (Madrid: Ulises/Iberoamericana, 1931); Oda a Walt Whitman (Mexico City: Alcancía, 1933); Llanto por Igacio Sánchez Mejías (Madrid: Cruz & Raya/Arbol, 1935); Seis poemas galegos (Santiago de Compostela, Spain: Nós, 1935); Primeras canciones (Madrid: Héroe, 1936); Obras completas, 8 volumes, edited by Guillermo de Torre (Buenos Aires: Losada, 1938-1946); Poeta en Nueva York (Mexico City: Séneca, 1940); Poemas póstumos (Mexico City: Mexicanas, 1945); Diván del Tamarit (Barcelona: A.D.L., 1948); Siete poemas y dos dibujos inéditos, edited by Luis Rosales (Madrid: Cultura Hispánica, 1949); Suites, edited by André Belamich (Barcelona: Ariel, 1983).

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS

Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter (London: Heinemann, 1937; New York: Oxford University Press, 1937); Poems, trans. by Stephen Spender and J. L. Gili (London: Dolphin/New York: Oxford, 1939); The Poet in New York and Other Poems of Federico García Lorca, trans. by Rolfe Humphries (New York: Norton, 1940); Gypsy Ballads, translated by Langston Hughes (Beloit, Wisconsin: Beloit College, 1951); The Selected Poems of Federico García Lorca (New York: New Directions, 1955); Poem of the Gypsy Seguidilla (Providence, R.I.: Burning Deck, 1967); Diván and Other Writings, trans. by Edwin Honig (Providence, R.I.: Bonewhistle, 1974); Songs, edited by Daniel Eisenberg (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1976); Poem of the Deep Song (San Francisco: City Lights, 1988); Ode to Walt Whitman and Other Poems, trans. by Carlos Bauer (San Francisco: City Lights, 1988); Four Lorca Suites, trans. by Jerome Rothenberg (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1989); Sonnets of Love Forbidden, trans. by David K. Loughran (Missoula, Montana: Windsong, 1989); Federico García Lorca: Selected Verse, edited by Christopher Maurer (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1994); Suites, trans. by Jerome Rothenberg (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2001)

Michael Rothenberg


Michael Rothenberg [USA]
1951

Born in Miami Beach, Florida in 1951, Michael Rothenberg is a poet and songwriter. He received his BA in English at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and his MA in Poetics at New College of California. He has been an active environmentalist in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 25 years, where he cultivates orchids and bromeliads at his nursery, Shelldance.


His broadside "Elegy for the Dusky Seaside Sparrow" was selected Broadside of the Year by Fine Print Magazine. The broadside of his poem "Angels" was produced in limited edition by Hatch Show Prints as part of The Country Music Foundation's museum resources. His songs have appeared in the films Shadowhunter, Black Day Blue Night, and Outside Ozona. He is also editor and co-founder of Big Bridge Press and Big Bridge, which was an on-line magazine.


His books of poems include Unhurried Vision, Favorite Songs, Nightmare of the Violins, What the Fish Saw, Man/Woman (with Joanne Kyger), The Paris Journals, Grown Up Cuba, and Monk Daddy.

David Meltzer writes, "Unhurried Vision, a year in the life of Michael, is really a deeply loving celebration & farewell to mentor Philip Whalen, a poet, roshi, & all around confounder of boundaries. A day-book; a non-epic odyssey through routes & roots of living & dying; a gastronome's pleasure dome, but above all a deeply stirred & stirring affirmation of poetry's centrality in realizing mundane & profound instances in the everyday extraordinary. Rothenberg's raw footage is disarming; sly, self-effacing, proclaiming, doubting, affirming."


Rothenberg is also author of the novel Punk Rockwell (Tropical Press). Other editorial projects include Overtime: Selected Poems by Philip Whalen (Penguin Putnam, Inc., 2002), As Ever: Selected Poems by Joanne Kyger (Penguin Books, 2002), David's Copy: Selected Poems of David Meltzer (Penguin, 2004), Way More West: Selected Poems of Ed Dorn (Penguin, 2007). He recently completed the Collected Poems of Philip Whalen for Wesleyan University Press (2007).

BOOKS OF POETRY

What the Fish Saw (Berkeley: Twowindows Press, 1985); Nightmare of the Violins (Berkeley: Twowindows Press, 1986); Man/Women [with Joanne Kyger] (Pacifica, California: Big Bridge Press, 1988); Favorite Songs (Pacifica, California: Big Bridge Press, 1990); Paris Journals (New York: Fish Drum Press, 1998); Grown Up Cuba (Amsterdam: Il Begatto Press, 2003); Monk Daddy (Blue Press, 2003); Unhurried Vision (Santa Fe: La Alameda Press, 2003)



Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
2006-2007


Ode to Tralfamadorian Goose

“I am a Tralfamadorian, seeing all time as you might see a stretch of the Rocky Mountains. All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, bugs in amber.”

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughter-House Five; or, The Children’s Crusade, a duty dance with death


Tralfamadorian Goose!

Global mother, lover, confidante in bubble, co-creator, wonder!
Gift, released from metal voice, iron clad guilt shackle, shrapnel of lost attachments

Chocolate beauty marks on velvet collarbone, and tangerine breast, blush
Spirit of red earth and air, tongue adoring in my ear drips honey bee, sweet care

Swinging hip dance, singing love’s low trance, oh high sensation!
Golden eggs on blue moon pillows, transcendent willows coo in outer space

Forgiving fate, unfolding, luscious ripe and lotus great, iris true
Heart, where’ve you been, your swells of daylight ease through freeze of my cold life?

So different from caged bird, me, winged dream, beyond
Come tell me how we’ll go on, you want to be stroked, I’m at your call, and on, and on

Goddess in cocoon, flesh-mate in caress, secret, soft in down
Transported, now, we can outlive, gently now, gentle you, and give, and how, just now


Tralfamadorian Goose!

Shy, robust fragrance of peach, woman, discrete plum lust
Gush of halo, resting indulgent in patter of me, flatter me, lather me in whispers

Steaming with purple borscht, piroshky, ambitious
Emotional, cautious, changeable, vulnerable council of playful, elegant pride

Tripping up bloody marching boots of muddy Red Army,
Stinging keys with classical quotes, flushing out Satan disguised as hope, Cupid

Pecking Freud on forehead, waddling over therapy of rigor mortis Shuttling a silver harp from heaven to heaven, gathering, weaving loose ends of life

Vonnegut understood this time, and you would understand it too
Basking in gardens, listless moments, ready to leap upon inspiration, waiting

No single man’s invention, Bacchanalia, Rubens, the feast is named
Picnic, banquet, treasure of favorite desire, unquenchable, hungering, basket of spice

I never trusted women, until she came along, now there’s only you
(She wrecked her car on the freeway, screamed hysterical, mourning a point already moot)


Tralfamadorian Goose!

Following you, following me, in a good old fashioned stand-off
Face to face, shouldering obligation, holstering family, how will it turn out, who knows?

Watching guards change into loons at Lenin’s tomb, May Day
KGB refuse swan egg pastries, Intourist room above staggering stream of banners

White feather quills dipped in solvent of defection, migration
Bodies daily turning up in newspaper pages, history recovering in revelation

Jews and Russians, holes in their chests as big as War and Peace
Infected caverns stuffed with poetry, longing, vodka, roses, icons, fish, horseradish

Making love in secrecy, discovery, uncovering a moist lyrical fetish
Cuddles, wriggles, moans, invisible tundras of memory, raves, a Siberian diplomacy

Giggles, baby talk, pinches, digging nails in buttocks, chirps, sleep
Dream I’m someone else, when I awake, holding you, you’re in someone else’s dream


Tralfamadorian Goose!

Chagall, Poe, Eartha Kitt, Isadora Duncan compose your choir
Painting Matrushkas of Iago, Zhivago, Lolita, Jesus, and Yeltsin’s quadruple heart bypass

Looking lost, forever homeward, swearing intimacy, constant truth
Vow your love, won’t take it back, love transient as democracy in real fists of greed

Tossing stone baggage overboard so body, spirit, floats, arise!
Fly with radio on, cigarette, rouge-chic, bearing down on pedal of empire’s success

Rushing about, picking caress off gossip, pitch of neighbor’s fence
Building fire storm with hug and smile, destruction calling me close, no more than I do


Tralfamadorian Goose!

Bigger than me, the oyster is yours, blue pearl of your eyes
Cherish me, render me, naked in gold-black boundless flesh of this starry night

There’s no one else for me, and you, but you so smooth
Fidelity comes in confession of infidelity, addiction in rejection of past, goodnight

Conclude the paragraph, the verse, the breath, you knew that if
Being here was an experiment the ideal would always remain fiction, that’s right!

This, from an imperfect world, tired of suspicion, you still want him too
Promises, only couplets, spoken in a sinking craft, so when at last, I’m gone, I’m gone

_____
Reprinted from Golden Handcuffs Review I, no. 7 (Summer/Fall 2006). Copyright ©2006 by Michael Rothenberg.

July 5, 2010

Claudia Roquette-Pinto


Claudia Roquette-Pinto [Brazil]
1963

Claudia Roquette-Pinto was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1963. At the age of 17 she lived for seven months in San Francisco, completing a course in English and American Studies at San Francisco State University.

Back in Brazil, she worked in the fashion industry, first as a model and then as an assistant fashion producer. In 1987 she graduated from Pontificia Universidade Católica in Literary Translation. From 1986-1991 she managed Verve, a monthly dedicated to literature and the arts, which she and four college friends had founded.

She is the author of five books to date, Os Dias Gagos, Saxifraga, and Zona de sombra, portions of which have appeared in the English translation Shadow Zone. Her most recent books include Corola (2001) and Margem de Manobra (2005). She has also published numerous poems in anthologies. With Régis Bonvicino she co-translated Douglas Messerli's Primeiras Palavras (First Words) in Portuguese.

Roquette-Pinto lives with her husband and three children in Rio de Janeiro.

BOOKS OF POETRY

Os Dias Gagos (author's edition, 1991); Saxifraga (Editora Salamandra, 1993); Zona de sombra (Rio de Janeiro: Sette Letras, 1997); Corola (Granja Viana-Cotia, Brazil: Ateliê, 2001); Margem de Manobra (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Aeroplano, 2005)

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS

Selections in The PIP Anthology of World Poetry of the 20th Century, Volume 3: Nothing the Sun Could Not Explain—20 Contemporary Brazilian Poets (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press/Green Integer, 1997/2003); Shadow Zone (Los Angeles: Seeing Eye Books, 1999); selected poems in "Lies About the Truth: An Anthology of Brazilian Poetry," edited by Régis Bonvicino in collaboration with Tarso M. de Mélo, in New American Writing, no. 18 (2000)

Minima Moralia

on the rarest petal
stri—
ated flesh
devoid of light's transparency
only the water-flecked
petal
wherein dwells (awaits)
the sound of a forest
the throbbing of the forest's fluids
when the eardrum crackles

Translated from the Portuguese by Michael Palmer



Chestnuts, Women

if opened
with the surprising skill
of small hands
blind to such an alphabet
and if—itself brown—
the patch of skin bruises
even more than from foolish thorns
see how
the bud throbs:
she and she
unbuttons
between the fingers

Translated from the Portuguese by Michael Palmer



Portrait of Pablo, Agèd

from the shadow his face hurls itself forth
a fish
an african moon
floating above the worn and grey surface
the bald spot gave no hint
of the eyes lively
as water, so lively
they create before seeing
the prideful bull's brow
thrusts a split nose:
one side of the face confronts
the other withdraws
the rest is wrinkles and grimace
papyrus
and the sound of ancestral hooves

Translated from the Portuguese by Michael Palmer

____
Reprinted from The PIP Anthology of World Poetry of the 20th Century, Volume 3: Nothing the Sun Could Not Explain—20 Contemporary Brazilian Poets (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press/Green Integer, 1997/2003), copyright ©1997 and 2003 by Green Integer. English language translation copyright ©1997/2003 by Michael Palmer.

Eugene Ostashevsky


Eugene Ostashevsky [b. USSR/USA]
1968

Eugene Ostashevsky was born in Leningrad, USSR, in the explosive year of 1968. When he was ten, his family immigrated to the United States on a political refugee visa, and settled in Brooklyn, New York. Although most of the poetry he read as a teenager was in Russian, when he himself started writing in high school, he did so in English. His long and. inconclusive studies terminated with a Ph.D dissertation in Comparative Literature at Stanford on the concept of zero in the Renaissance; he is now teaching Core Curriculum courses at NYU.

In the late 1990s, Ostashevsky was constantly doing poetry readings in San Francisco as member of both 9X9 Industries and Vainglorious. His work from the period came out in a series of chapbooks in collaboration with the Russian-Israeli-American artist Eugene Timerman. His subsequent publications include the full-length collection Iterature and the chapbook Infinite Recursor or The Bride of DJ Spinoza, the last again with Timerman. He has also appeared in Best American Poetry and was the recipient of a Poetry Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Like other Russian-American poets associated with Ugly Duckling Presse, Ostashevsky is a devoted translator of twentieth-century Russian literature. OBERIU: An Anthology of Russian Absurdism (Northwestern UP, 2006), which he edited and which includes his translations of Alexander Vvedensky, Daniil Kharms, Nikolai Zabolotsky, Nikolai Oleinikov, Leonid Lipavsky, and Yakov Druskin.

“The Premises of Grass” is part of a book-length project entitled The Life and Opinions of DJ Spinoza, which is about the shortcomings of axiomatic systems, and of rationalism in general. The poem was inspired by the smell of his sister when she was breastfeeding and by the circular thought that Descartes could not have had a dog or a cat, because if he had had one, Western philosophy would have turned out very differently.

BOOKS OF POETRY

The Off-Centaur (New York: Germ, 2002); Iterature (New York: Ugly Duckling, 2005); Infinite Recursor or The Bride of DJ Spinoza (New York: StudioRADIA / Ugly Duckling, 2006)

Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
2005-2006



The Premises of Grass

The Laughing Philosopher has entered
the Witless Relocation Program
Outside his window there’s a rooster
that looks like a toaster
In the field there’s a cow
on whose rump sits a crow
The crow snaps its wings, caws erratically
but the cow only smiles enigmatically
The Laughing Philosopher thinks,
Ah Nature
nonexistent daughter
of the rhetoric of cognition
We cannot reach you
But there are your representatives
speechless, the animals
conscious machines
of self-replicating nucleic acids
What is life Nature
How does it appear
by accident
How does it stand
on its own four feet
What does it see
out of the moist convexity of its eye


___
Reprinted from Boston Review, no. 30 (April/May 2005). Copyright ©2005 by Eugene Ostaschevsky.

Carter Ratcliff

Carter Ratcliff [USA]
1941

Born in Seattle, Washington, Carter Ratcliff grew up in Michigan and Ohio. In 1963, he earned a B.A. in English from the University of Chicago. By 1967, he had settled in New York and found his way into the milieu of the St. Mark’s Poetry Project. His poems first appeared in The World, the Poetry Project magazine. Early in the 1970s, he conducted one of the Project’s poetry workshops.

With the publication of his gallery reviews in Artnews, in 1969, Ratcliff joined the ranks of those New York poets who pursue a second career as art critics. Since then his art writing has appeared in major art journals in the United States and abroad, and in catalogues published by major American and European museums.

His books on art include John Singer Sargent (Abbeville Press, 1982); Robert Longo (Rizzoli, 1985); The Fate of a Gesture: Jackson Pollock and Postwar American Art (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1996); Out of the Box: The Reinvention of Art, 1965-1975 (Allworth Press, 2001); and Andy Warhol: Portraits (Phaidon Press, 2007).

Ratcliff has received a Poets Foundation grant, 1969; an Art Critics grant, NEA, 1972 and 1976; a Guggenheim Fellowship, 1976; and the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism, College Art Association, 1987. His editorial positions include Editorial Associate, Artnews, 1969-1972; Advisory Editor, Art International, 1970-1975; Contributing Editor, Art in America, 1976 to the present; Contributing Editor, Saturday Review, 1980-1982; Editorial board, Sculpture Magazine, 1992 to the present; and Contributing Editor, Art on Paper, 2001 to present.

Though Ratcliff has said, “My poems are all love poems,” his poetry ranges over many themes and subjects, among them landscape and, in particular, the American sense of space; the interplay of poetry and painting; politics, with an emphasis on questions of individual agency; the nature of narrative, as exemplified by such genres as the detective story and the political thriller; figures of ancient myth and tragedy; and the characters of the commedia dell’arte. “A quality of language brings with it an intuition of character,” says Ratcliff. “When I put my sense of another’s voice into play I am brought by a roundabout path to the full range of my own interests. This is anything but mysterious. The dramatic monologue is about as transparent as a fiction can be. To elaborate it—to speak in a variety of obviously made-up voices—is to stay alive to something we all know, that meaning is not only a work in progress but a perennial collaboration between oneself and all the others who inhabit one’s landscape.”


BOOKS OF POETRY

Fever Coast ( New York: Kulchur Press, 1973); Give Me Tomorrow [with art by Alex Katz] (New York: Vehicle Editions, 1983); Arrivederci, Modernismo (New York: Libellum Press, 2007)


Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
2005-2006



The Raven Was Right

The earth circles the sun,
not the sun the earth. I suspected as much,

though I can’t imagine what circles the raven
or what the raven circles, and, oh, I forgot,

your ex-boyfriend called,
he wants you back.
He wants to be your shadow.

Love is hard,
and harder still to classify. Is it an object, a theory, a form
like a sonnet or form like a villa or a palindrome? Who knows,

and why not? Are we all too hopelessly eroded
by whatever the measure of charisma we still possess?
Is everything the fault of the motion picture camera?

sigh the powers that were
and would like to regain their old preeminence, the glamor
and the glory of the one that flings the many into shadow, and, oh, I forgot

your ex-girl friend called, she wants to be your many shadows
and I guess you must know, by now, your old place is for rent again,
and all that is fair in love is still too stubborn to give war a chance, still refuses
to give even name, rank and serial number.

Is that because love is so rare,
so unlike other things, or is it, au contraire,
too like all those other things?

Leaving the arcade and turning south,
the personage stumbled but never fell, never
came anywhere near falling, in song or story, despite the moral disaster

the world underwent just then, more by coincidence
than for any reason that need engage a mind as dreamy as yours,
my darling, my pretext for opening my eyes
in the morning, in the evening, whenever I want, because why not?
I leave it to the moth who circles my head like a flame

to remind me that you left me
years ago, before time began and reminders
were ever necessary, and I can’t imagine who reminds the moth of her task,
what infinitely versatile thing takes the trouble to do so, to be the world

that invites us to love the truce that we have made with it.

____
Reprinted from Vanitas, No.1 (2005). Copyright ©2005 by Carter Ratcliff.

Graham Foust


Graham Foust [USA]
1970

Graham Foust was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. From 1988-1992, he attended Beloit College, and he later received graduate degrees from George Mason University (M.F.A., 1996) and the University at Buffalo (Ph.D., 2002). During and between his years of schooling, he was employed as a museum guard, a bartender, a ski-lift operator, a writing tutor, a public affairs specialist, a financial writer, a grant writer, and a clerk in a small bookstore.

From 2002-2005, he taught in the English Department at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, he is a professor of English at Saint Mary’s College of California, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in literature and writing.

Foust’s first book, As in Every Deafness, was published by Flood Editions in 2003 and was followed shortly thereafter by Leave the Room to Itself, which won the 2003 Sawtooth Prize. A third collection, Necessary Stranger, is forthcoming in the fall of 2006. His poems and essays can be found in TriQuarterly, Jacket, Verse, Practice, Fascicle, Conjunctions and other journals, and his several of poems have been translated into Dutch. He is currently working on a book about the poetry of Wallace Stevens.


BOOKS OF POETRY

As in Every Deafness (Chicago: Flood Editions, 2003); Leave the Room to Itself (Boise: Ahsahta Press, 2003); Necessary Stranger (Chicago: Flood Editions, 2006)


Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
1995-1996

"I can see more light"
Said the soil
To the pearl to the
Witch at ground zero
Said the hole
In the city to the
Cork in the sun
Said the cop
To the fool to the
Church of your choice
"and it's the size of lightning
And the size of rice"
____
Reprinted from Washington Review (October/November 1996).
©1996 by Graham Foust.


Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
2005-2006



the lake


tears

we should’ve been this—

I don’t hate you

broken gift


*


cue the dull

machinery—
deer

are licking at leaves, the lake


____
Reprinted from Slope, No. 21 (2004/2005). Copyright ©2005 by Graham Foust.

Paul Hoover


Paul Hoover [USA]
1946

Born in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Paul Hoover was raised primarily in Danville and North Hampton, Ohio, small farming communities where his father served as Pastor in the Church of the Brethren, a Protestant group similar to the Amish and Mennonites.

He received is B.A. in English from Manchester College in Indiana and his M.A. in English, with an emphasis in creative writing, from University of Illinois Chicago. He taught at Columbia College in Chicago from 1974 until 2003. He was one of the founders of The Poetry Center of Chicago, a major independent reading series, and the well-known literary magazine, New American Writing, which he edits with his wife, Maxine Chernoff. He is also of the editor of Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology, published in 1994. He is currently Professor of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University.

Hoover is the author of some ten books of poetry, and has won the Carl Sandburg Award, Chicago’s leading literary prize, for his collection, Idea (1987) and the 1984 General Electric Foundation Award for Younger Writers for poems later published in Nervous Songs (1986). In 1980, he was awarded an NEA Fellowship in poetry.

Hoover also published a collection of literary essays, Fables of Representation (2004), and a novel, Saigon, Illinois (1988). He has lectured and read his poetry internationally in Yunnan Province, China; St. Petersburg, Russia; São Paulo, Brazil; Liège, Belgium; Cambridge, England; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Glasgow, Scotland. Hoover has also translated poems into Spanish, published as Poems in Spanish (Omnidawn, 2005).

Of his collection Viridian, Mary Jo Bang commented in Boston Review: “Hoover’s concern with language’s representation inadequacy is shared by the L=A=N=G-U=A=G=E poets he’s championed for years in New American Writing and included in Postmodern American Poetry. However, his own poems are more direct, more lyrical, and sometimes seethingly melancholic. Central to all of them (regardless of language’s irrefutable limitations) is his keen intelligence and laconic wit.


BOOKS OF POETRY

Letter to Einstein Beginning Dear Albert (The Yellow Press, 1979); Somebody Talks a Lot (The Yellow Press, 1983); Nervous Songs (L’Espervier Press, 1986); Idea (Great Barrington, Massachusetts: The Figures, 1987); A Novel: A Poem (New York: New Directions); Viridian (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1997); Totem and Shadow (Jersey City, New Jersey: Talisman House, 1999); Rehearsal in Black (Cambridge, England: Salt Publications, 2001); Winter (Mirror) (Chicago: Flood Editions, 2002); Edge and Fold (Berkeley, California: Apogee Press, 2006)


Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
2005-2006



The Mill

This is the evening when a bird nests in a hat
left in the street by a flying man, a man of worlds and heat,
of vellum and fog and sculptures that lurk
when we're not looking, this is the evening.

This is the moment when traffic passes as I have taught it to pass,
as I have learned the way, this is the moment.

This is the place where snow was invented.
This is the town it falls on, consisting of three houses
with plastic lights in the doorway, a man who touches his woman
as she likes to be touched--no matter how warm, always snow--
and the hand that turns the world, this is the place.

This is the life that keeps me awake at night,
its distances and skin, and this is time with its foot in a crack,
unable to move yet passing, this is the life.

This is the hour when the crime was committed;
this is the first cause watching. This is the river drowning
and a filthy shadow washing its hands, this is the hour.

This is the little fish eating the big one. This is the man
who lives by the railroad tracks; this is the train passing.

This is the mill where grain was turned, this is the grain
unfinished, and this is the empty bed of the stream
that used to turn the wheel, this is the mill of absence.

__
Reprinted from Volt, no. 11 (2005). Copyright ©2005 by Paul Hoover.


David Barnett

David Barnett [England/lives Wales]
1929

Born in England in 1929, David Barnett was educated at a boys’ grammar school and, after National Service in Germany, at Oxford University, where he read Modern History. He took a variety of odd jobs before sailing to Malaysia and Thailand, where he spent six months with mostly remote tribal people.

After a spell in advertising, he traveled around the world for several years, with long stays in India, Australia, Tahiti and Mexico. He later taught in the inner London schools of ten years before moving to Wales to run a community whole foods shop.

Barnett describes himself as a vegan who eats mostly raw food. He runs a marathon and walks prodigiously through the beautiful Welsh countryside, dancing frequently and celebrating with his friends. He lives in a remote farmhouse on a moor.

Barnett has been writing poems for more than 30 years, and has published several books, including Bent in Water and All the Year Round. He is currently preparing a new collection of poems for publication. He has had more than a hundred poems in magazines and has won several literary prizes.

His poems, he observes, “are about many things—the natural world, dance, tribal people, the land of Wales and its amazing past, other creatures, the Holocaust, love and death. The genesis of each poem comes from elsewhere. Important to me are the sound of words and the rhythm of a poem which should approach to the condition of music. I’m taken, too, with symbols. A true poem suggests as well as says. Its inner truth must be teased out.


BOOKS OF POETRY

Bent in Water (Spectrum, 1985); Fretwork (Passenger Pigeon Press, 1990); All the Year Round (Envoi Publications, 1993)


Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
2005-2006

from Dance your Dance

(xi)

On this isle, yam-friendly,
dancing—palm with palm—
leavens. Hips hula, drum-
cued. Soles tamp
the land that slews,

spreads its jasmine breath to ruck
the bark-cloth of those
who, paddle-stopped, pirogued here
to squat a tropic. Week
a braid a hut,

months for the dance, pliant
as the dove’s, tide-
floss across a lagoon-cleft,
a kelp-tassels, sucklings’
gums. Parties

are bound to dance in the whorl
of their fortune, lavish
like click-beetles, folklore,
fish-spring, dusk’s
colours. Further

birth for the ageless hours
when a fit galliard
makes love, crams gatherings
with the conch-songs
in the glaze

on a reef’s scales. Blest
settlers, hoped, matched
with their porpoise swell. Till frigates—
iron-prowed—jib.
Their freight death.

____
Reprinted from Poetry Wales, XVI, no. 2 (2005). Copyright ©2005 by David Barnett.



For another poet by Barnett, go here: http://barnettpoems.wordpress.com/



July 2, 2010

Campbell McGrath

Campbell McGrath [USA]
1962

Campbell McGrath was born in Chicago in 1962, grew up in Washington, D.C., and has lived mostly in Chicago, Manhattan, and Miami, where he cur-rently resides with his wife and two sons. He was educated at the University of Chicago and Columbia University, from which he received his M.F.A. in 1988. He has taught at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and, since 1993, in the M.F.A program at Florida International University, where he is the Philip and Patricia Frost Professor of Creative Writing.

His first book, Capitalism, was a Wesleyan New Poets selection in 1990, and his subsequent books have been published by The Ecco Press. Following the publication of his third book, Spring Comes to Chicago, in 1996, McGrath received a number of honors, including the Kingsley Tufts Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations. Three more Ecco Press books have followed, as well as Heart of Anthracite: Collected Prose Poems, from Stride books in England.

His writing often focuses on American history, culture, and landscape because it’s what he knows and cares about most deeply, and because the explanations America owes the world might best be delivered by its poets. He often casts his poems in prose, and does not believe the perceived distinction between “prose” and “verse” is particularly meaningful or consequential. He admires the flexibility of omnivorousness of poetry as a medium for exploring and documenting the world. His heroes include Woody Guthrie, Vincent Van Gogh, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, and his future projects include a three-volume poetic investigation of Elvis Presley’s afterlife in purgatory.


BOOKS OF POETRY

Capitalism (Hanover, New Hampshire: Wesleyan University Press, 1990); American Noise (Hopewell, New Jersey: The Ecco Press, 1993); Spring Comes to Chicago (Hopewell, New Jersey: The Ecco Press, 1996); Road Atlas (Hopewell, New Jersey: The Ecco Press, 1999); Florida Poems (New York: Ecco Press/HarperCollins, 2002); Pax Atomica (New York: Ecco Press/HarperCollins, 2004); Heart of Anthracite: Prose Poems, 1980-2005 (Exeter, England: Stride Press, 2005)

Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
2005-2006


The Glann Road

Artichoke and thistle: two purples.
Artichoke, thistle, salsify, clover, lavender, loosestrife.
Blue is another country, another realm or province,

blue is a fiefdom unknown to the bees who gang the beds of heather, heads bowed and beaded in [fealty to the Land of Nod.

Clouds are another story altogether,
clouds in their pilgrimage across that starry
demesne, another lifetime, future and past
erased like the rib-blue slate that
floors the lake in sheets as terse as syllables.

Gaillimh: curragh, longboat, hooker. A white horse in the meadow.

Hydrangea the color of melon rind; of indigo, oyster shell, guelder rose.
Hydrangea in the meadow the color of mist, of the piebald mule seeking shelter

beneath the giant oak
islanded in an ocean of black wasps drunk on clover flower.
Joy of the nectar-sated, the smoke-holy,
Kevin in the sanctity of his cold-water tribulation
long before whomever it was
left these ruins of monastic simplicity
marooned amid the heath and ancient yews,
nave, bier, cist,
oracle or temple, scatter of fieldstone, crusheen like a transmitter
pulsing devotion, whatever energy that is, radiant as faith,
quasar or saturnic ring, the stolid earth, its moon,
rocks in a high and lonely place,
six round cobbles from the waters of Lough Corrib,
stones in their orphanhood, their antigravitational hegira,
their lithic ascension
toward fields of hagiographic light.

To locate the self without compass on a lake of many islands,
teal against alum, topaz on shale.
To defend the ancient tower from the piracy of the other, floribunda the color of sea-salt, fist of [the artichoke cloaked in thistle.
To relent. To surrender to the hydrangea. To give oneself over to the blossoming
tendrils of the sweat pea vine,
their vellum prolixity
trellised against a hayrick of rain and a rainbow gone
underground. And the green snake,

vivid as myth, dreaming the spiral of a pre-Celtic divinity,

wild swans in a cove of reeds, a prayer to Saint Francis
Xavier, cerulean offerings to Elatha or Cernunnos,
yesterday's cuttings to propitiate a blue goddess:

zinnia, witches' thimble, chicory, forget-me-not.

____
Reprinted from Electronic Poetry Review, no. 7 (June 2005). Copyright 2005 by Campbell McGrath.

H. L. Hix


H. L. Hix [USA]
1960

H. L. Hix was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and grew up in small towns in the south. He earned his B.A. in English and philosophy from Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee, whose campus—with its “sward” and “towers”—was once the home of the girls’ finishing school memorialized in John Crowe Ransom’s “Blue Girls.” He took his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Texas in Austin.

Hix taught philosophy and literature for fifteen years at the Kansas City Art Institute, then held an administrative role at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and is now Professor of English and director of the creative writing M.F.A. at the University of Wyoming. Recognitions afforded his poetry include the Grolier Prize, the T. S. Eliot Prize, and an NEA fellowship.

Hix’s dozen books include works on contemporary continental philosophy (e.g. Spirits Hovering Over the Ashes: Legacies of Postmodern Theory), works of practical criticism (e.g. Understanding William H. Gass), and poetics (e.g. As Easy Lying: Essays on Poetry). His book about poetry, God Bless: A Political/Poetic Discourse, was published in 2007.

He reports an inability to decide whether he is trying to write poetry that is sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic, his claims for poetry having included three of these.

BOOKS OF POETRY

Perfect Hell (Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith, 1996); Rational Numbers (Kirksville, Missouri: Truman State University Press, 2000); Surely As Birds Fly (Kirksville, Missouri: Truman State University Press, 2002); Shadows of Houses (Youngstown, Ohio: Etruscan Press, 2005); Chromatic (Youngstown, Ohio: Etruscan Press, 2006); Legible Heavens (Youngstown, Ohio: Etruscan Press, 2008); First Fire, Then Birds: Obsessionals 1985-2010 (Youngstown, Ohio: Etruscan Press, 2010)


Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
2005-2006

Winter
from “The God of Window Screens and Honeysuckle”

Stubble rows, four matte, four shiny in morning sun,
show the combine’s direction. What can be preserved
must be preserved as some self other than its own.
Bent cattails mimic stubble in the frozen pond.
Suet nearly gone, chickadees cling upside down
to the feeder. Above it, a hedgeapple wedged
between branches since fall. Past that, changing direction
at once, fast as mackerel, a thousand blackbirds.
Skaters on a pond, we fall into what we know,
drown in disorienting light before we freeze.
In angled afternoon sun, the fence’s shadow
caresses the snow’s contours like tight-fitting clothes.
Even when grass greens to re-enact spring, the snow
will linger, longest in the shadows of houses.


_____
Reprinted from Shadows of Houses (Youngstown, Ohio: Etruscan Press, 2005). Copyright ©2005 by H. L. Hix.