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Showing posts with label Spring Street Editions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spring Street Editions. Show all posts

Friday, April 30, 2010

POET OF THE DAY: MARY ADAMS




My friend Mary Adams is such a good poet that words fail me. But they never seem to fail her.
So, it's not surprising that Spring Street Editions, in collaboration with Ash Creek Press in Portland Oregon, has launched its chapbook series with WCU professor Mary Adams’s Commandment. Mary’s first book, Epistles From the Planet Photosynthesis, was published in the University of Florida Press’s poetry series. Her work has earned her a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, among other honors. These new poems show her to be one of the finest formalists writing today. Former NC Poet Laureate Fred Chappell says, “I have read with great admiration and genuine enjoyment the poems in this chapbook. “ He praisesThe intricate overlaying of separate landscapes and timeframes in the poems, their often “Dantean” focus, and concludes by saying that he will be re-reading this collection with pleasure, “going back and forth amongst the poems because I think I hear echoes.They seem linked to me and Commandment a whole. Congratulations on a fine performance!” Ron Rash praises the book, saying” Frew contemporary poets can match her combination of craft and feeling, which makes this new collection all the more welcome. She is a poet of the first rank.”

Commandment

By Mary Adams




When we were lonely

Love doubly

blessed us. Earth

filled us. Birth

welled like morning,

clean yearning

poured over the void

and we said

nothing could quiet this

urge, this riot, this

self-forgetfulness.

And then the doe

so wild going so

still, saw the brink

of wilderness sink

in our plenty, our

pity. Oceans for

which we longed dried

and our best laid

the world waste:

it wasn’t just

never enough love

that Jesus suffocated of.



TIME CATS
-- after Mr. Lloyd Alexander, 1924-2007


To console you for growing old, I got you a gift
to take you out of time. Not poems, which are always
ending after they start. And not knitting,
which if worn you might wear out. The best
gifts are light, but not too light, and flow
everywhere, like the ache of debt. This year
your gift should signify the infinite.
So I got you kittens, tricked by your own fingers
from the wild. Because they compound eternally,
but warmer. Because a single box contains
all kittens till it’s opened. Because a kitten
mewing makes a butterfly make a tornado.
Because a knotting of kittens extends in a plane
forever. Because a dying kitten is
impossibly light, and a lost kitten’s cry
is bottomless. And since each kitten wells
with the cat of danger, we know every cat
wears kittens like an urge. None is ever
really lost. Then cats point both ways always.
Now you are grown, here are all your kittens,
new again, like money you found in the laundry.
Heft them gently. Feel in their small hearts
your trembling. Calm them in the morning
of your fears. When you are sad, speak
them like cadences, kitten of cross-fire,
kitten of backflip, kitten of glory, kitten of
clutching, kitten of pestering and plummet, spindly
kitten, hungry kitten, kitten of solace.