Share

Friday, May 10, 2013

Gods of Water and Air Coming Out Soon!

My new poetry collection, Gods of Water and Air, will be released by Kelsay Books in the fall of this year. A mix of poems, prose poems, essays, and even a short play, it will be an homage to the forces that grew me and sustain me: the ocean's edge, the people shaped by this landscape, our history, and above all love's failures and victories. Death's failure to erase it. It is really a book of odes  to these daily gods. Thank you, Karen Kelsay, for selecting it and giving me such scope to finish it! Here's a sample:


O Beautiful

As we pull up and park at Point Reyes,
            a woman lowers
            her binoculars,
                                    and points: Eagle! 
            We raise our glasses and scan
the hills, see a white-headed fledgling
                        standing on a ridge, outstretched
                                    wings sieving the wind.
            His pharaonic beaked head
                        turns slowly. Through trembling
                                    lenses, we watch the Golden
                        Quarter come alive--
                                    O, beautiful
                       
                        Descending to the estuary,
we leave behind his practice flights,
            as he hoists up, free-falls and strikes.
                        His freedom is law-forged.
                                    He’s a leashed kite
            tethered to this range
                        where a few more eagles
                                    nest each year, their circles
            pruning shore and sky.
                                   
                        At the Lindsay Wildlife Hospital,
            a tethered eagle hops atop a cage.
His broken wing created a captivity
                        where he’ll live longer
                                    than his cliff-roaming
            cousins. He flaps
                        in tight
                                    circles,
snapping
his wings’ dark flags.
                        We stand back,
                                    doubting the chain
                        as he puzzles us
                                    with a hard black eye.

originally published in Terrain

Monday, May 06, 2013

Mining the Orr

Every once in awhile (more often if you're a diligent reader) you dig into a body of poetry you've always known was there, but not really looked at. You had no idea it held such riches. As I awoke today with a heavy sense of loss because of my dog's death, I saw an article about poet Gregory Orr, read some poems, and remembered why I urgently need to get one of his books. If only because he said this about poetry, which I am experiencing now:

Poetry is the thread that leads us out of the labyrinth of despair and into the light.”—Gregory Orr

Like James Wright, whose imagery evokes for me a mysterious divine presence, the few poems of Orr's I've been reading speak directly to my experience that everything holds a life force that can be felt and absorbed as beautiful and radiant. Even death and loss can.

This is what they say on all the articles about Gregory Orr (his publicist must have written it, it's much quoted): "Considered by many to be a master of short, lyric free verse ..." This one to me is about as short and masterful and wonderful as you can get.

Hold off, rain.
Of course, my garden
Craves water.
But the peonies
Are in full blossom.
If you fall now,
Their petals will
All be scattered.

Wait a day.
Let them feel
The pure joy
Of opening.

Fall tomorrow,
Then you can show
Them love
Is also a shattering.




Untitled [I know now the beloved]

  by Gregory Orr
I know now the beloved
Has no fixed abode,
That each body 
She inhabits
Is only a temporary
Home.
             That she
Casts off forms
As eagerly
As lovers shed clothes.

I accept that he's
Just passing through
That flower
Or that stone.

And yet, it makes 
Me dizzy—
The way he hides
In the flow of it,
The way she shifts
In fluid motions,
Becoming other things.

I want to stop him— 
If only briefly.
I want to lure her
To the surface
And catch her
In this net of words.

- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23050#sthash.M2uRCUpB.dpuf

Untitled [I know now the beloved]

  by Gregory Orr
I know now the beloved
Has no fixed abode,
That each body 
She inhabits
Is only a temporary
Home.
             That she
Casts off forms
As eagerly
As lovers shed clothes.

I accept that he's
Just passing through
That flower
Or that stone.

And yet, it makes 
Me dizzy—
The way he hides
In the flow of it,
The way she shifts
In fluid motions,
Becoming other things.

I want to stop him— 
If only briefly.
I want to lure her
To the surface
And catch her
In this net of words.

- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23050#sthash.M2uRCUpB.dpuf

Untitled [I know now the beloved]

  by Gregory Orr
I know now the beloved
Has no fixed abode,
That each body 
She inhabits
Is only a temporary
Home.
             That she
Casts off forms
As eagerly
As lovers shed clothes.

I accept that he's
Just passing through
That flower
Or that stone.

And yet, it makes 
Me dizzy—
The way he hides
In the flow of it,
The way she shifts
In fluid motions,
Becoming other things.

I want to stop him— 
If only briefly.
I want to lure her
To the surface
And catch her
In this net of words.

- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23050#sthash.M2uRCUpB.dpuf

Untitled [I know now the beloved]

  by Gregory Orr
I know now the beloved
Has no fixed abode,
That each body 
She inhabits
Is only a temporary
Home.
             That she
Casts off forms
As eagerly
As lovers shed clothes.

I accept that he's
Just passing through
That flower
Or that stone.

And yet, it makes 
Me dizzy—
The way he hides
In the flow of it,
The way she shifts
In fluid motions,
Becoming other things.

I want to stop him— 
If only briefly.
I want to lure her
To the surface
And catch her
In this net of words.

- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23050#sthash.M2uRCUpB.dpuf

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Tupelo's 30/30 Project

All the ways the small press world sustain literature are on my mind today! As I work to complete my own poetry book manuscript, and read the Poetry Month daily poems of friends, I'm so grateful to be a poet among poets. Tupelo Press has come up with a unique way to help sustain their work, in the 30/30 Project. A poem a day each month from nine poets. This May, my friend Alan Kleiman, who has a forthcoming book, is one of the featured poets. What wonderful things he and the other poets are doing with words!