Sunday, March 26, 2006

a hint, a chapbook, and things that suck

stumbled across this site for women's poetry and resources: womb. do check it out.

something i promised to do a lot sooner than this: talk about a chapbook i received earlier this year and enjoyed reading, re-reading and reading again. the poet, suzanne frischkorn, and i corresponded a few years back, then we lost touch, and now in blogland i found her again, and i heard about her poetry collection Spring Tide winning the aldrich poetry competition. it's a collection of 15 poems, and it's impossible to pick one favourite. i am having a hard time choosing only a few lines from a handful of poems - but i'll try, and you can always read the rest yourself!

i adore the images of nature that suzanne creates; i can hear the sounds she writes of, can smell the sea, hear the birds, the surf, the scraping of stones, dragonfly wings. isn't it just beautiful when she writes, in Puccini at Dusk:

The chain-link fence smothers / in trumpet vine, siren / song to hummingbirds.
and later
Dusk rubs its thumb / along the horizon.
i feel like i have been waiting for someone to put it that way, because i somehow knew it and could not say it like that.

two mermaids make an appearance in her book, one her own, and one created and perhaps misunderstood by neruda. the first mermaid is described (or, rather, describes herself) as
drunk from the storm, a third of me stuck / in mud
she laments a life
Before those creatures with spliced tails freed me. / To teach me to kneel.
the other mermaid, originally pablo neruda's, "takes issue with the fable" and sets the record straight about knowing or not knowing tears, and swimming towards life, not death.

And Here We Thought the Stain of Bougainvillea is full of terrific images like
reality tossed on a clamshell driveway

white / petals in my hair, our hands folded / on themselves

the patient raven / dances on our roof's pitch
the ending is to die for:
What can be lost / in a single day? A hundred hairs, a memory / effacing as it happens, orange maple / leaves, flakes of skin. The arcing light of dying stars.

from Youth Drowns in Housatonic River:
Please tell his mother I brushed / the hair from his forehead and sang / sweet songs

another passage i really adore for the powerful images is from Freshwater Notecards:
I believe in the sulfur light / on the corner, casting shine / on snowflakes -- / large dust motes -- at 5am. These / are the days of puddle with boot, / leak from roof, the mist season

and before i end up quoting the rest of the book, one last excerpt, from Saltmarsh which i love for the words and the metaphor:
the sharp-tailed sparrow / begins his faint song. / His mate filigrees twigs / and string. How easy they / make it seem; to start over.

i have not considered the formatting here, which does play its part in the poems in suzanne's book - it often gives breathing space, esp in poems like Winter.

the chapbook actually comes as one half of a book - the other half is judith valente's Inventing an Alphabet about which i intend to say something some other time. for now - read suzanne's poetry. and her blog.

and now for something completely different, as promised in the header:
a) migraines
b) stormy days when they blow all that leftover winter dust into one's eyes
c) mornings when i cannot, just cannot, wake up (don't tell me to drink coffee. i don't.)
d) computer troubles. major problems with sepp's computer; cannot seem to get rid of some virus, and we can no longer access the internet, nor does mc afee work anymore. wasted the whole day on making back-up copies of just about everything and we will have to set the whole thing up anew, i'm afraid. just what we needed. and i had hoped to go see jalla! jalla! at the scandinavian film festival and two other films tomorrow. so much for that. &$*%!!!!
e) the thieves of time stealing an hour from us tonight.

song of the day: you suck, by the murmurs. i did not actually listen to it, but the thought crossed my mind several times today.


Anonymous said...

linked here via the richard hawley board...
yr post reminded me of a favourite poem by my favourite poet, Spring Tide by Tom Pickard...written on the death of the great Northumbrian poet Basil Bunting...

Spring Tide
(for Basil Bunting, Spring 1900 to Spring 1985)

A filthy winter to have lived through.
Dragged by the hair kicked and kicking into spring.

A year-long miners' strike,

Police road blocks blocked the motorways
and all roads leading to the north.

More reactionary than the thirties
the old fascist-fighting conchie told me.

While you lay dying in Hexham General Hospital,
we climbed Parliament Hill with our word learner son
to the see the city from the lip of the basin
and to see the kites.

The little Geordie-Polak cried keats
when he saw the rainbow-winged mosquitoes
stringed against the cockney clouds.

You wanted sleep; a blood-clot
rushed to your brain. We pushed our faces into May:
snowflower our blossom told us,
thanking frothing hawthorn for the gift.

We stood by the North Sea,
a wash swirled around our feet.
Furthest from the shore
you stared towards a squall
on the dark horizon.

I warned against a threatening wave; swelling
it would overwhelm us.

Leaping to safety I glanced back and saw you,
steady, silent, still,
tracing the trajectory
of the wave's engulfing curve.

My son's warm hand on my leg
woke me drowning
in a cold sweat.

You, the dark spring tide,
and the spring
were gone.

michi said...

thanks for sharing this, david.
richard hawley huh? i'll have to go look for you! ;)

md said...

Thanks for the shout out!