Over the next few weeks or months, I will post all my reviews (“Tom’s Celebrations”) that appeared in Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose (formerly Redactions: Poetry & Poetics) up to and including issue 12. After that, my reviews appeared here (The Line Break) before appearing in the journal. This review first appeared in issue 12, which was published circa November 2009.
The following interview may or may not have occurred with Lucille Lang Day on Tuesday, May 12. I was inspired to interview her after reading her most recent collection of poems, The Curvature of Blue (Cervena Barva Press). I was especially drawn to her book because of the cosmological poems. They are some of the finest ones written. And if you enjoy science, cosmology, physics, color, love, death, and poetry, you’ll enjoy this book.
Tom Holmes: I’m here with Lucille Lang Day, a poet I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Since I and others may be new to you, I first want to know if you could briefly describe yourself to me and the readers?
Lucille Lang Day: I will defer to the book and let it speak for itself.
TH: Okay. So, The Curvature of Blue, could you describe yourself?
The Curvature of Blue: “There’s no one quite / like me” (p 13).
TH: I’m sure that is true, but could you be a bit more specific, please?
TCOB: “I am one / with bees and ants creating // their chambers” (p 24).
TH: Okay, and what can the reader expect from you?
TCOB: The reader will “hear cinnabar / olive, raw umber, magenta, / violet and chartreuse / mingling in counterpoint” (p 19).
TH: That’s fine. I noticed the patience of your poems. They seem at ease. Would you agree? How would describe the momentum?
TCOB: Yes. It’s like when “Rain sifts down like fine flour” (p 8).
TH: I also noticed an evolution as the book moved forward. It’s almost sequential . . .
TCOB: Oh, I couldn’t disagree more.
“Moments are shuffled and reshuffled
to give the illusion of time and history.
Everything happens at once and forever” (p 34).
TH: So, you are atemporal. That’s a very interesting way to create. Could you describe your creative process?
TCOB: Well, it’s a bit like
“The one sperm that enters,
cells cleaving to form
a hollow ball, bouncing
down the oviduct, the infolding
and implanting in the muscular
wall of my uterus, the welldeveloped
tail, pharyngeal gills
just like those of a fish
forming before finger buds,
heart and brain, the long
months of turning and turning
like a vase on a potter’s wheel,
the finished child sliding,
wet and shining,
into her father’s palms.” (p 14)
TH: Awesome. Now, is that what it’s like when you actually write the poem, too?
TCOB: No, when I write, it’s more like there is something
“stirring inside me, walking
the long corridors of my brain,
searching for something
irretrievable, precious, still there.” (p 38)
TH: So, why do you write?
TCOB: “To waken the angels” (p 54).
TH: That reminds me, death seems important to you. How would you describe death?
TCOB: “When the end draws near,
light descends, thunder roars,
and all of heaven enters
the body through a slender
glass column. The brain lights
up as galaxies spin, planets
of every imaginable color
turn in their orbits, and
billions of moons, stony
or gaseous, glow inside
the cerebrum. In that
instant you finally know
the meaning of it all.
Then one by one the stars
blink out, constellations
disappear, and you
are a barren cave.” (p 55)
TH: I like that. It seems we only have time for two more questions. The penultimate question, what caused the curvature of blue?
TCOB: “[. . .] the moon
circling earth, dragging
the oceans like flowing
blue gowns; the human
heart pumping blood
through a network of rivers” (p 68).
TH: Nice. And one last question. Do you have any advice for the young writers?
TCOB: “To be an artist, you must be crazy” (p 28).