Showing posts from January, 2016

On the Move: Ships, Fringes, Fog, Song

The Ghost Ship

A.E. Stallings 

She plies an inland sea.  Dull
With rust, scarred by a jagged reef.
In Cyrillic, on her hull
Is lettered, Grief.

The dim stars do not signify;
No sonar with its eerie ping
Sounds the depths; she travels by

At her heart is a stopped clock.
In her wake, the hours drag.
There is no port where she can dock,
She flies no flag,

Has no allegiance to a state,
No registry, no harbor berth,
Nowhere to discharge her freight
Upon the earth.


Last week a couple of friends and I drove over to Aspen where Juan Felipe Herraras was appearing.  Herraras' poems don't quite appeal to me, but the man entirely won me over.  I think he might be our first national laureate whose work comes from the spoken word tradition. On stage, he embraces the role of the kindly elder, has a bit of a medicine man vibe.  I came away feeling he is a well chosen guardian, representing, as it were, one tent, one genre, one school, one constellation in the great big poetry sky.  He is part…

The Lion, The Loon and the Lamb

Last year a writer friend invited me speak at a service for the local Unitarians.   
The pagan in me was intrigued. 
It seems each month they invite a guest to deliver a speech on a particular topic --   from an extended list of virtues.   They call this presentation a sermon.  And yes, one stands behind a podium on a Sunday morning, flanked by a chorus, a minister, burning candles, the works.  
It had been many years since I had attended church, and the very idea of delivering a sermon, (on the subject of Dignity, no less), had set my impostor syndrome on alert.  This was a venue in which I couldn't just blithely dispense with the podium, or the microphone, for that matter.  I knew there would be one.  A microphone, that is.  But it was the word sermon that had really set me on edge.  I'd certainly delivered sermons in my life, but those were ...spontaneous effusions, generally regretted.  
In the end I decided I was incapable of writing a sermon, but I was capable of explication…

In which the Self Taught Neurotic Poet's poem is chosen for Inclusion in Best American Poetry and Other Publications