I am an instrument in the shape
of a woman trying to translate pulsations
into images for the relief of the body
and the reconstruction of the mind.
—Adrienne Rich (May 16, 1929 - March 27, 2012)
Dear Adrienne Rich, rest in peace. If I had had the time I would have been posting excerpts of yours all day long. I may still.
(While we acknowledge her passing, it’s good to also acknowledge her record of transphobia. Complicated in life, complicated in death, and it would not do to whitewash or diminish that.)
In Uganda, where homosexuality is punishable by death, activists held their first Pride. (via Have a Gay Day)
Your Monday poem today is by Marie Ponsot. The Poetry Foundation declared her winner of the 2013 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize just last week, a sort of poet’s lifetime achievement award (and Lord it’s a large award - $100,000!) She’s been publishing and translating poetry (among other things) since 1957. And is she any good? Yes she is:
T.S. Eliot once said that modern poets had lost the ability to think and feel at the same time. If only he could have read Marie Ponsot! Her poems are marvels of intellectual curiosity and acuity, and they will also break your heart.
(And how was your Monday? Was it kind? Ours was not, but tomorrow’s Tuesday.)
Come for duty’s sake (as girls do) we watchThe sly very old woman wile away from her piousAnd stagger-blind friend, their daily split of gin.She pours big drinks. We think of whatHas crumpled, folded, slumped her flesh inAnd muddied her once tumbling blood that, young,Sped her, threaded with brave power: a Tower,Now Babel, then of ivory, of the Shulamite,Collapsed to this keen dame moving amongHerself. She hums, she plays with used brightGhosts, makes real dolls, and drinking sings Come hereMy child, and feeling it, dear. A crooking fingerShows how hot the oven is.
the VOX Reading Series.
Gabriel Blackwell is the author of Shadow Man: A Biography of Lewis Miles Archer and Critique of Pure Reason. His essays and fictions have appeared in Conjunctions, Tin House, Puerto del Sol, DIAGRAM, Unstuck, and many other places. He teaches creative writing at Willamette University and is the reviews editor of The Collagist.
Originally from Indiana, Matthew Nye holds degrees from Dartmouth College and the University of Utah. Currently, he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Creative Writing at the University of Georgia and is an editor for A Bad Penny Review. Recent work is forthcoming in 1913: A Journal of Forms. He lives in Athens.
It’s at 7:30pm in the UGA Chapel on March 26. Mandala Journal has RSVPd on the Facebook event page, which is funny because haha a literary journal which has no embodied form and no free will or subjectivity is “attending” an event haha but seriously. Mandala Journal is attending. See you there!
(via The Guardian)
There is that great proverb—that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. That did not come to me until much later. Once I realized that, I had to be a writer. I had to be that historian. It’s not one man’s job. It’s not one person’s job. But it is something we have to do, so that the story of the hunt will also reflect the agony, the travail—the bravery, even, of the lions.
Nigerian author & giant of literature Chinua Achebe passed away early this morning. He was 82.
(via Hark! a vagrant)
If you have any interest in the aforementioned comic, gossipy diary entries, “the Byronic look”, or Salieri types, you are going to be interested in Carrie Frye’s recent piece for The Awl. And in the same vein,
If you have any interest in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or vampires or Romantic poets or, who knows, Swiss tourism, you’ve most likely read Polidori’s name. He’s a curio, Polly Dolly, most notable not for what he wrote but for being nearby when other people wrote things. It’s a strange afterlife; to think you’ve landed a leading role, and then there you are, on stage, sure, and with big names too, but fixed to a mark far upstage and over to the left, near the wings, in the half-dark where the spotlight doesn’t quite reach. “Poor Polidori.” That’s how Mary Shelley referred to him, writing years later. And he was.
Poor Polidori! Fantastic.
“Memory is the happiness of being alone.” —Lois Lowry, Anastasia Krupnik
Long live Lois Lowry, long live YA
On an entirely different note, did you know that Krupnik the beloved middle-grade lit character is also a beloved Polish-Lithuanian honey spiced cordial? Let us assure you (and by “us” we mean “me”), it is very, very good. Long live YA, long live krupnik
Today’s Monday poem comes our own archives. The poet is Ken Poyner, the poem is “The Migration,” and it’s one of our favorites from the 2012 issue. The last two lines are really wonderful payoff, in particular, but we won’t spoil them for you, go ahead, read it and see:
Behind me there was an outbreak of the pox.
The disease as rare as fresh paint
Would take away millions, leave
Families of empty streets, apartment buildings
With lights on two floors only:
Tiny empty boxes separated by elevations of concrete.
I was heading North.
“A place where you hide from the wolves. That’s all any room is.” —Jean Rhys, from The Art of Fiction No. 64.
In anticipation of our upcoming issue, Shelter. In which we talk about taking shelter. From: wolves, the storm, the passing of time, maybe yourself. And, in which we talk about how we take shelter, and with whom. Coming in April! [Thanks for the segue, Paris Review!]