Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Reason for the Wind by Roni Fuller

A Reason for the Wind, Roni Fuller's new book of poetry, begins where Fuller's previous collection left off, as he recovers from his wife's death, detailing his travels to El Salvador, as well as his internal travel through the uncharted terrority of grief, memory, and longing.

From A Reason for the Wind

It was here that I learned
to open and taste granadia,
scooping up its wet, sweet juice,
and know the soft flesh
of maranon, beneath which
grows the cashew,
curved and hard.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Tracing the Path by the Cascadilla Poets

Tracing the Path is an anthology of poems by The Cascadilla Poets: Peggy Billings, Inta Ezergailis, Jon Frankel, Bridget Meeds, and Ann Silsbee, with guest poets Yi Ping and Lin Zhou.

"In a collection like this one, a reader could single out the virtuosity of one poet, a purity of tone of another, or the verbal mastery of a third, but to do so is at odds with the intent. The gifts of each contributor are substantial, but their mutual accomplishment is even more remarkable. This group of poets can serve as a model for many others of us today, whatever our age and calling."
from the introduction by James McConkey

from Tracing the Path

Jon Frankel: Down Below a Baby Cries

A corkscrew
turning to be free.

So strong
The whole human muscle and its brain
Are bent to one conclusion.

The mother walks it back and forth
Through leopard spots of sun.

Inta Ezergailis: The Dress

It flows in the window-light,
greens, reds, some pink--
the same and not the same
as one some fifty years ago
in the window of a store
of a small Bavarian town,
so soon after the War
that we had no books, but took notes
on organic chemistry and Cornelius Nepos
in neat deferential German longhand.

New lives were being offered, sparingly.
It was possible to cash in on survival,
somehow, though life was not as rich
as it had looked in the bunker,
with Berlin being swept away outside,
when all seemed possible if one was spared,
when, at twelve, I thought
I had brought on the war,
and begged forgiveness for such small sings
as I'd been capable of, clenched my hands,
prayed, sitting straight--God's good pupil--
as the bombs saturated all.

Now there was life--
refugee camp, German school,
the goldpaving of Ottawa or Boston,
or the Australian outback.
The senses in their timid flowering
seized on the dress in a shop window
on the way to school, a shop
which must have been expensive.
The single dress lay seductively
at a languid angle, fluid, silky.
No mannequin--pure, sweet, virgin,
it was waiting for me alone.
Transcendence without mediation.

The missed years of slow awakenings,
of stirrings in the body denied space and time,
trying to find root, turn delicately outward.
Did someone buy it, someone rich and glorious?

The town was Rosenheim, home of roses.

88 pages
ISBN 0-9702498-2-9

Half-Light by Peggy Billings

"Coming upon the collected work of a poet new to us, we should resist the tendency to read the poems in quick succession. Half-Light contains any number of poems that deserve to be lingered over: They need, as good literature always does, to be created all over again in the reader's imagination."
from the introduction by James McConkey

Poet Peggy Billings was born in McComb, Mississippi, in 1928. From 1952-63, she served as a missionary in war-torn South Korea. After her return to the United States in 1963, she went to work for the United Methodist Church, devoting her life to racial justice, civil rights, community action, peace, international affairs, and women's issues. She has remained involved with Korea during its democracy and human rights struggles. She is currently retired and living near Trumansburg, NY.

From Half-Light

End of the Day

When the sun
goes down
behind the Palisades,

shade climbs up
the sides of the buildings
to rest on rooftops.

On Broadway,
the barber's pole
whirrs the evening prayer.

People hurrying home
from the subway
cover their heads with half-light,

of wild lilac and shadow.

Like a child
reluctant to come inside,
the light lingers on our stoop.

66 pages
ISBN 0-9702498-7-X

Don't Go to the Reception with Friends of the Groom! by Reza Daneshvar

A drive into the countryside beyond Paris turns surreal in Don't Go to the Reception with Friends of the Groom! a mischievously disorienting fantasia that mirrors the immigrant's sense of dislocation. With serio-comic intensity, Reza Daneshvar gives us the inherent absurdity of the exile trying to negotiate another culture's darkest recesses.

From Don't Go to the Reception with Friends of the Groom!

When they left the city, a thick fog greeted them; the car was gradually swallowed up as if it were driving into an ocean.

"Oh, it's lovely, all this fog!" the woman exclaimed.

"How can we see the signs? We're bound to get lost," said Hassan-aqa, apprehensive.

"Don't worry, my husband's eyes are sharper than an eagle's." And she suddenly burst out laughing. Hassan-aqa had just discovered that the lenses of her husband's glasses, thick as wine-bottle bottoms, were heavily coated with mist....

translated by Catherine Porter
18 pages
ISBN 0-9702498-6-1