Two Lines Press Senior Editor Emily Wolahan and I had a great conversation about form, meter, and the freedom that comes through constraint in the translation of poetry. The interview is up at the Center for the Art of Translation.
I have another new sonnet, “Assist,” in the latest issue of Prairie Schooner—adorned with this great artwork on the cover! Glad to be in the same pages as Valzhyna Mort, Jacque Rancourt, Bruce Bond, and so many other great friends and poets. As someone who transverses between different languages, I love in particular these words from Mort’s poem “Ode to Branca” that appears in the issue: “There’s a hallway between languages where my lips are stacked / on top of each other like logs of a forest cabin. // There’s a bowl of forgotten language filled with a single word… / Here’s a poem in which my lip-logs need to shut [the horizon chain].” I am indebted and in awe of the wonderful poet and editor-in-chief, Kwame Dawes, for putting the whole thing together.
People Bring Us Flowers
too many white flowers, as if the soul requires
a veil of pure substance it never had the need to form
in life, or we must have the underbelly of so many briars
to hide like tiny aphids within the thorny swarm
of grief when it comes…
You can read the rest of the poem in the latest issue of the Birmingham Poetry Review. Thanks to the editors for including it in such great company.
Arts reporter Rebecca Rose interviewed me recently in advance of a reading I gave in Orcutt this past week. You can check out the profile that she wrote at the New Times. Thanks so much to Michael Mclaughlin, the CORE Winery, and fellow poet Jim Cushing for a great event.
Big thanks to poetry editor Don Bogen for publishing my sonnet “Tenor” in the latest issue of The Cincinnati Review. I’m delighted to have my work included.
As part of my ongoing effort to introduce the poetry of Krystyna Dąbrowska in English, I’m pleased to have another translation out in the world, this time in the wonderful New England Review. I love seeing so many different voices from different places in conversation. Thank you to Rick Barot and Carolyn Kuebler for putting forward such a compelling editorial gesture.
What a thrill to have a new translation in The Threepenny Review, which I have long upheld as the height of magazines for the literary reader. It’s interesting to find that the poem, Krystyna Dąbrowska’s “Wooden Figure of a Hunchbacked Dignitary,” takes on a new political aura in English in the U. S. And I’m honored to be in the company of David Ferry, Robert Pinsky, W. S. Di Piero, Wendy Lesser (editor extraordinaire), and others.
When I lived in Bloomington, Indiana, I became fascinated with the idea of oolitic rock, surrounded as the town was with limestone quarries and filled as it was with limestone buildings. Here we were, living within walls of skeletal fragments, grains of other organisms composed in concentric layers. I’ve carried the idea of those tiny ooids, or spherical granules, with me for years. And then I began to write about my grandfather’s physical and mental decline in the last years of his life. About memory loss and depression and experiences from WWII that kept upsetting him. And that image came back. What grains remain with us? What houses us? What haunts us? How fitting that MSWord wants to autocorrect “ooids” to “voids.” What are the voids that we inhabit?
Thank you to the editors of Alaska Quarterly Review for publishing the poem, “Oolite Lunch,” that resulted.