Posts Tagged ‘adoption

08
Jul
19

On Carrie Etter’s Imagined Sons

A version of this review (and a better edited version) may appear in a future issue of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics.

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Carrie Etter's Imagined SonsI have not found many poems focused on the topic of adoption, and I’ve found even fewer poetry collections focused on it, but Carrie Etter’s Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014) is a worthy find. This collection contains poems from the viewpoint of a birth mother who relinquished her son when she was 17 years old. There are 38 prose poems titled “Imagined Sons” followed by a number and subtitle, such as “Imagined Sons 1: Fairy Tale” or “Imagined Sons 32: The Fifth Supermarket Dream,” and interspersed between those prose poems are 10 poems titled “Birthmother’s Catechism.”

The catechisms arrive in the form of questions and answers, which often feel like an interrogation. The interrogations seemingly make the birth mother feel tremendous guilt for relinquishing her son, who was born on September 11, 1986, which I believe is at the tail end of the Baby Scoop Era (if it ever ended). The Baby Scoop Era began shortly after World War II, and it was a systemic attempt to take babies from unwed mothers, especially young mothers, and that deliberately made the mothers feel like unworthy humans. The opening catechism addresses this when it points out how she signed a contract “With black ink and legalese” that forced her to give up her son. Most likely she, at the age of 17, had no idea what she was reading and was also too young to be signing a contract, which is another issue with the Baby Scoop Era. It’s also an issue that will appear in a later catechism in the line “When a stranger compares her mortgage to signing away her first son, I nod and cannot speak” (46). A little bit later in the opening catechism, the reader can see how she was treated when a “Nurse brought pills for drying up breast milk.” Right away, the reader not only feels the trauma of a young mother relinquishing her baby son, but the reader also sees how poorly lawyers, doctors, and nurses treated her. Much of the rest of the book is told from Etter’s point of view many years after, still coping with the day of her son’s birth.

Throughout the catechism poems, it’s not quite clear who is asking the questions. Maybe it’s the birth mother’s guild-ridden mind, but often it feels like a faceless, Kafkaesque judge and she’s on trial. And this judge is often, maybe always, triggering her PTSD. For instance, here is an excerpt from one interrogation:

     What is the anniversary of loss?

     Sometimes the melancholy arrives before the remembering. 

     . . . 

     What is the anniversary of loss? 

     When I say sometimes the melancholy comes first, I know the body has its own memory. 

     What is the anniversary of loss? 

     The wishbone snapped, and I clung to the smaller piece.   (15)

 

The judge is forcing her to explain and maybe justify her actions, and the reader can see how her pain is not only emotional but is also physical. The body, which grew the baby for nine months inside itself, remembers. It remembers the baby’s breathing, heartbeat, and hunger rhythms. The body, like the mind and heart, just can’t forget. With each catechism, the reader gains a better understanding of a birth mother in later years and early years. The reader also realizes and understands that she made the wrong wish, though against her will, and she lives with it daily. For instance, in one catechism the judge asks, “Who do you think you are?” and she responds, “A wrong answer” (21). And in another catechism, the judge asks her:

     Why haven’t you looked for him? 

     What if I found him? 

     Why haven’t you looked for him? 

     What if I found him turning away?   (31)

 

These lines show the hope and fear of the chance encounter of meeting her son, and it also parallels the main theme of the prose poems.

In the “Imagined Sons” prose poems, she often fantasizes in surreal, dreamlike scenes about chance encounters with strangers who she hopes will be her son. To complicate matters, Etter had her son in the United States, but later in her life, she ex-patriated to England, where the chances of the encounter are probably zero. And yet she imagines, she hopes, and she even recognizes familiar family features in the male strangers, such as how a stranger “has my large, dark eyes” (“Imagined Sons 4: Black and Velvet”), or “He’s reasonably handsome, with her father’s reddish hair and light eyes” (“Imagined Sons 15: The Second Supermarket Dream”). It’s as if she is so desperate to find her son that she might be imagining these familial features. To me, this is an unexpected reversal, because the adopted child who seeks their parents often wants the experience of recognizing where they come from – the joy in finding someone who looks like them. It seems birth mothers do the same. And all of this – the relinquishing, the guilt, the hope, the possible reconnection, adoption – is surreal, which may be why Etter chose to write prose poems. One can argue that the prose poem is the better container for surreal events than a lineated poem, because the prose poem can freely flow without conscious interference from the mind negotiating the tension between grammar and line breaks, or as Baudelaire says about the prose poem, so it can “adapt to the lyric movements of the soul.” In other words, it may more closely parallel the unconscious flow of thought and dreams. And these thoughts she will never let go of, as she tells her interrogator, she will let her son go when:

     A man carves my name into granite with hammer and chisel. 

     . . . 
 
     It is time, Celan said, the stone made an effort to flower.
 

I believe the reader also will not be able to let go of the birth mother’s trauma, language, and images in Carrie Etter’s Imagined Sons. //

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Etter, Carrie. Imagined Sons. Seren, 2014.

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28
Jun
16

The Domestic Fabulism of Adoption in Stacey Balkun’s Jackalope-Girl Learns to Speak

A version of this review (and a better edited version) may appear in a future issue of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics.

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Stacey Balkun's – Jackalope-Girl Learns to SpeakAccording to The Adoption History Project, “[a]pproximately 5 million Americans alive today are adoptees, 2-4 percent of all families have adopted, and 2.5 percent of all children under 18 are adopted.” Despite the statistics from the Department of History at the University of Oregon, it seems as though less than 2-4 percent, less than 2.5 percent, and most likely far less than one percent of contemporary American poetry is about, concerned with, or brushes up against adoption issues and themes. Even in tv shows and movies, aside from characters such as Clark Kent, Natalie from The Facts of Life, Punky Brewster from Punky Brewster, and the movies Juno and Elf, there are few adopted characters or themes of adoption. As an adoptee, this is of some concern to me, especially since I never wrote poems about adoption until recently in the 48th year of my life. I think part of the cause for the lack of adoption poems for others and myself is that many adopted children, according to my research and own experience, tend to either just accept the issue, ignore the issue, or just forget they were adopted. The adoptee accepts their adopted parents and moves on with life. Fortunately, Stacey Balkun’s chapbook Jackalope-Girl Learns to Speak (Dancing Girl Press & Studio, 2016) is wholly concerned with the adopted life.

Perhaps another possibility for the lack of adoption poems is the poet not knowing how to successfully write an adoption-centric poem in a way that isn’t predictable, sentimental, insincere, or lacking nuance. Balkun, however, found a way. In Jackalope-Girl Learns to Speak, she uses the characters Jackalope-Girl (representing an adopted female) and Antler-Girl (representing Jackalope-Girl’s birthmother) to tell the allegorical story of Balkun (or a female adoptee) growing up as an adopted person. While I think it’s an allegorical story, others might call it “domestic fabulism,” which is akin to Magical Realism of the home life, or home life told in the manner of a fable, or as Catherine Moore says in an interview about an anthology of domestic fabulist poetry she co-edited with Stacey Balkun, domestic fabulism is where “myth and magic easily co-exists with domestic concerns; indeed, if often amplifies the drama of the ordinary.” As a result, we enter an everyday world in Big Sky country of Longview, Texas, as well as a northeast suburb, where there are proms, cigarette smoking, sex, and dentists. Within this ordinary world, the fabulist elements of a jackalope child born from an antelope mother and rabbit father can exaggerate, or amplify, the life of adoption so as to subvert the reader’s expectations and generalizations of the life of an adoptee and the adoptee’s birth parents and adopted parents.

In many stories of birth parents, the birth father is often considered an absent father or a derelict, is told to leave the relationship, or is just plain ignored. In Jackalope-Girl, the only three things the reader learns about the father are that he is a rabbit who once had sex with Jackalope’s birthmother (Antler-Girl), and both were “uncertain” of what they were doing sexually (“Jackalope-Girl’s First Time”). After the sexual encounter, the mother then drove home alone. The mother had an innocent night of sex and the father didn’t even know of the pregnancy. He is ignorant of his jackalope child. The collection of poems, however, isn’t about the absent father, but the domestic fabulism makes us reimagine a new way of looking at the birth father – he’s not necessarily a dead beat or scum bag, he just may not know he even has a child since the mother drove away without telling him.

Even though Jackalope-Girl briefly mentions the father or suggests the father by way of his absence, the poems are more focused on the Jackalope-Girl, Antler-Girl, and Jackalope-Girl’s adopted parents. We learn that Antler-Girl (the birth mother) early on had plans for adoption and even had an adoption lawyer. Despite all this “When the jackalope-girl lost her fur / in the third trimester, her mother’s / body trembled, sensing loss,” which implies the mother was caring and loving of her child, and was not the uncaring or irresponsible mother that so many stereotypes about birthmothers perpetuate. Because the poem alters a human mother into animal form, the poem is better able to engage the reader in a story that subverts typical expectations by presenting a responsible and caring birthmother. In other words, if the poem used humans, the story might seem bland and unreal. For instance, later in the same poem:

     jackalope-girl [still in the mother’s womb] felt
     the distant voice [of the adoption lawyer on the phone]. Her thighs
     stretched into muscle meant for leaping

     and her nose twitched, eager
     to memorize the smell of south.
     She felt soft as steamed cornbread.   (10-15)

By using these elements of domestic fabulism, it becomes believable that there is a loving and responsible birth mother, and the unbelievability that a baby could hear the voice of the adoption lawyer on the telephone, and that she was “eager” to inhabit the south becomes believable. As a result, the reader gains new perspectives on birthmothers, adopted children, and birthmother-child relationships.

Balkun’s use of domestic fabulism also allows the reader to enter the mind of an adopted child who is often (always?) trying to fit into her adopted world or her adopted world is forcing her to fit into it. For instance, in “Inoculation,” the reader encounters Jackalope-Girl as a baby with “Rabbit teeth [that] grow forever: two up, / two down” (3-4) that would grow into antlers unless she “chewed on wood / or stones” (4-5). Even as a baby, she instinctively knows how to take care of her teeth, but her adopted parents (who seem to be humans and not animals) did not and they did not want her to have antler teeth. They “wanted it / stopped” (9-9), so the parents “had the dentist inject muscle relaxers / into her gums [. . .] / She bared her teeth / and screeched, but his pliers had already grabbed hold” (9-10, 11-12). Later on, in “Jackalope-Girl Learns to Speak,” Jackalope-Girl’s “first word was mistaken / for a whimper” (2-3) by her adopted parents; further, when she “asked only for milk” (3) and “clover” (4), her “surrogate mother laughed and handed me [Jackalope-Girl] a binky” (5-6). In other words, just as a colonizer imposes their ways on the colonized, there is an unnatural transition from birth world to adopted world, much misunderstanding between the two worlds, and the adopted parents (colonizers) enforce their ways on the adopted child (colonized). Perhaps this is one reason (consciously or not) why Balkun chose to represent the adopted child as an animal since colonizers often view the colonized as animals.

Also, inherent to this living in an adopted world is whether the child should fight it or accept it. Or maybe it’s a fight for the adoptee’s birth world or flight from the birth world to the adopted world. Perhaps this is the main theme of the collection of poems. I imagine most adoptees have this concern at least once in their life, and may ask him/herself conflicting questions, such as: “Should I try to discover who I am?” or “Why do I feel so different from my adopted family members?” versus “Should I just accept this adopted world that makes me into something that is different than my instinctual self?” Early on, Jackalope-Girl is resistant to her adopted world, “I was born to an electric storm / in winter. I can’t be caught” (“Inoculation” 30-31), because she can feel “big sky country” of where she was born and instinctually she can feel her antler self, even though her antlers have been “filed down” (20). In fact, she wants so much to return to her birth world, she invents the allegorical “Animal City,” a sanctuary city for adopted children who feel at ease with themselves and speak a language they can all understand. It is the promised land before the colonizers (parents) arrived.

Jackalope-Girl is conflicted and perhaps always will be, which is something readers might not expect of adoptees had Balkun not used the allegorical animal figure of a jackalope as a representation of an adoptee, and as brief as the collection of poems is (16 poems across 24 pages), we get an intimate insight into the life of an adopted person. I do hope for more of these poems or an expansion of this collection as I think there is still more to explore. Nonetheless, any reader of poetry will enjoy Stacey Balkun’s Jackalope-Girl Learns to Speak and her domestic fabulism of the adopted.

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Works Cited

Adoption Statistics.” The Adoption History Project. Department of History, University of Oregon, 24 Feb. 2012. Web. 28 June 2016.

Balkun, Stacey, and Catherine Moore. “NO FEE Submission Call and Interview – Fiolet & Wing: Anthology of Domestic Fabulist Poetry, DEADLINE: June 15, 2016.” Interview by Trish Hopkinson. Trish Hopkinson: A Selfish Poet. N.p., 7 June 2016. Web. 28 June 2016.

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13
Jan
12

On Amanda Auchter’s The Glass Crib

A version of this may appear in an upcoming issue of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics.

Amanda Auchter – The Glass CribZone 3 Press is a sneaky, awesome press. How many poets really know of this press? Zone 3 Press seems like it is flying under the radar. I mean, they only put out one or two titles each year, but, damn, each book is terrific. Copper Canyon, BOA, Graywolf, watch out. There’s another press delivering excellence, and Amanda Auchter‘s The Glass Crib is no exception.

So why the title The Glass Crib? Is it because it’s an intriguing image? Yes. Is it because it appears in the poems “The Threat” and “Offer It Up”? Yes. But it also occurs as an associative symbol. To me a glass crib sounds dangerous since it could shatter (and there are shattering glass images in the book). I mean, who would put their child in a glass crib? Though a glass crib also has a pristine feel about it, too. With the glass crib, you also get the feeling of a safe place for a baby – a crib – which is juxtaposed with the danger of glass and the sterility of being behind glass. When I first thumbed through these pages, I thought the book was going to be about being an adopted child, which it is in part. As an adopted child, I could relate to those glass-crib feelings, but can’t we all? Aren’t those the feelings an adopted child would have? The feeling of being in a safe place but among strangers. And when with strangers, don’t you feel a bit scrutinized and when in glass, perhaps, the child feels like a lab rat. This leads to the second side of the symbol – a glass crib is like a fish tank or a place to put hamsters or lab rats, but it’s not a place for a baby. An animal, yes. A baby, no. The glass crib image and the associations I just shared are the feelings and tones Auchter’s collection of poems present. That is, Auchter presents us with the delicacy and hopefulness that are present with pregnancy, birth, babies, and young children, and the terror and tragedy that can accompany the birth and or death of a young child. This book is about sorrow, pain, loss, and ascension.

The Glass Crib begins with the tender poem “Annunciation,” which is about the hope that accompanies pregnancy:

                                               My skin

   stretched and torn into the shape
   of a child's arm or a foot, and then

   a mouth, an eye. His incredible blue
   breath.

The following five poems, however, present a  harsh tone that is aimed at the vodka-drinking birthmother who accidentally conceived the author. The shift begins slowly in the opening lines of second poem, “Possible Beginning”:

   My birthmother unties the strings of her bikini top

   on a striped beach towel, lights her cigarette,
   flicks her ashes into the muddy Gulf.

                                  When she wakes
   the next morning, brown skinned, hungover

   in bed with a man who brings her aspirin,
   tomato juice, his fingers to her lips,

   I am still the sand grain stuck inside her
   from the day before

This is how we are introduced to the birthmother. At first, the scene seems benign and innocent – a young lady is sunbathing and smoking cigarettes. Then it slowly turns. The birthmother has brown skin, which means she’s in the sun a lot, and she’s hungover, which means she drank a lot. Ok. That’s fine I suppose. But the more the detail the poem reveals the less benign this birthmother becomes, and then we learn that she is pregnant in the wonderful image “I am still the sand grain stuck insider her leg / from the day before.” This pregnancy is reinforced later with:

   the possible beginning of fingernails

   nostrils, knees. Of her name
   called over and over, his breath,

   her body on fire, the idea

   of face and knuckle, the small mouth
   she will push away.

The harshness and anger towards the birthmother grows, and then in “Gospel of the Unplanned Child,” we read a dialogue between the mother and the unborn child:

   You said I want my body back.
   I said your body is my body.
   You said I'll kill you with the stairs.
   You said I'll kill you I'll kill you.
   I said I'm still here.
   You said please don't tell –
   I told with my soccer kick.
   I told with my umbilical cord.

A few poems later in “Elegy with Photograph in Hand,” it seems the author will forgive the birthmother:

                                     inside

   my mouth runs the hemline of your teeth
   the thread of your pink tongue rising from
   my throat, or that whenever I catch myself

   singing, I owe all the notes to you.

This forgiveness, however, is short lived, if it is forgiveness at all as the tone of the final lines may not be in line with the actual sentiment. The harsh feelings and anger towards her birthmother continue in the following poems. Until we learn that the author is unable to bear children.

The first part of section “I. Possible Beginning” is to set up an anger at the irresponsibility of her birthmother and the accidental pregnancy, the vodka drinking during the pregnancy, and the attempt to kill the fetus. Then we get the irony of the author not being able to have a baby, and she would probably be a very caring mother, too, given all of her past experiences. All the author has been through creates a pain from absence, as expressed in “Tether”:

         How much we give up for this
unnameable thing: love without

face, without name. Love, a nest filled with bone, umbilicus,
             fingernails. Affliction.

The next section, “II. Without,” jumps from the careless mother and the baby that can never be conceived to the loss of siblings. In the second section we get some horrific images of car accidents and loss and death of siblings, such as this scene from “False Memory Syndrome”:

         Some days,

           there was an empty road, gravel, often

   rain. She forgets
        if the car was moving toward her
   or away, headlights or taillights, her face

       thrown through the wind-

                     shield, her body

       in the damp country field.

That’s a terrific line break in the middle with “wind- / shield.” Usually, I’m against line breaks on word breaks. They tend to be weak and not well thought out or more of a distraction than an enhancement. But here, I feel and get it. The lady is thrown through the wind as she flies out of her car to the “damp country field.” It’s like a movie accident. And then the line break to “shield.” Wham. When you read “shield,” you can see and feel and hear her slamming into the windshield. The impact is real. The causality, however, is a off. She should crash into the windshield, then fly through the wind to the “damp country field.” But this experience worked for me on the first readings. I wasn’t distracted. I was into it. (By the way, here is an instance of shattering glass – the glass crib breaking. This accident will also be revisited later in the book.)

There’s also the poem “Pyx,” which seems like the burial of an unborn child. Well, it did until I looked up “Pyx.” A pyx is is a small round container used in the Catholic churches to carry the consecrated host, or Eucharist, to the sick or invalid or to those who are unable to come to a church in order to receive Holy Communion. Even after you know what a pyx is, the scene is touching. And that’s what I like about these poems – they are emotionally involved. It’s hard to write directly about an experience and be emotional without being cheesy, overly sentimental, deliberately pulling the emotional cords, or just being down right clichéd, deliberate, and over the top. But Auchter succeeds. I envy that. I want to take classes with her to learn how to get genuine emotions into a poem instead of intellectualized emotions.

Saint Augustine by Philippe de Champaigne

Saint Augustine by Philippe de Champaigne

And it’s around here, where the running start begins to gain momentum from the leap from section “II. Without” to the section “III. Bring Splendor.” The leap from section II, which I see as an extension of section “I. Possible Beginning,” to section III is the leap from pain to the belief or acceptance in God. It’s as if the first two sections were a test by God. The leap is like The Confessions of St. Augustine. The leap, however, requires knowledge of some saints. But before I get to those saints, let’s get back to the running momentum, which also occurs in the beginning of section III.

I’m thinking specifically of the poem “Offer It Up,” which feels like it was the first poem written in the collection. The main moments in first two sections of The Glass Crib recur here. In fact, after reading “Offer It Up,” I feel like the first two sections were written in order to fill in all the spaces in this poem. While I like this poem, especially where it is placed, it doesn’t seem like it can stand on its own. It’s seems elliptical without the other poems. This may be why it is one of the few poems in the collection that wasn’t previously published in a journal. But here, in section III, it sings and it acts as a catapult into the following poems. The poem ends:

      For my sister who almost died,
   my brother that did. That each time I felt

   the loss of a letter or a person, I could
   strike
              my knees to the floor

   and give it all back to the God
       who asked me to bear it.

After these lines, the poems move to the saints that I mentioned above, some of whom are incorruptible saints. In fact, without a knowledge of these saints, you might get confused as to why there are the poems for these saints. I know I did, but I also knew based on the strong poems the preceded that there was a reason for the switch from the personal to the saints, from the secular to the religious. So why the leap? Is it because the previous sections were a test from God? Yes, in part. But really it’s about who the saints are and what they did. Once you know, you’ll see the similarities between them and the experiences of the first two sections. Many of these saints had difficult childhoods and witnessed the death of siblings and/or had poor relationships with their parents. I won’t point out all the parallels due to page limitations (which cost money to print [donations please]), but I’ll point out the main ones for each saint.

Saint Agatha

Saint Agatha

St. Agatha gave her life to God and would not have sex with any man, including the powerful Quintan, who then arrested her and put her in a whore house and then a jail. Her final prayer was:

Lord, my Creator, you have always protected me from the cradle. You have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Receive my soul.

Now if that doesn’t sum up the author’s experiences, I don’t know what does. St. Agatha’s breasts were also cutoff.

Saint Cecilia

Saint Cecilia

St. Cecilia is the first incorruptible saint. She refused sex with her husband on her wedding night because she was devoted to an angel who would appear if she were baptized. When she was finally baptized, the angel appeared with flaming wings and holding two crowns of roses and lilies. After the husband witnessed this, he was converted to Christianity. When the Romans tried to change her ways, they tried by drowning her in her bath, but this failed and so did the beheading. This parallels the baptism scene in “Limbo for the Miscarry” and, more importantly, the experiences in “Gospel of the Drowned Twin.”

Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Saint Catherine of Alexandria

The Catherine Wheel, which is the title of one of the poems in section “III. Bring Splendor,” is named after St. Catherine of Alexandria. The Catherine Wheel was a middle-age torture device that tore apart the legs and arms and then was lifted for vultures, crows, and whatever else to eat the living body. The death, obviously, was very painful and slow, and it was quite popular entertainment. Catherine was killed on one of these wheels in the 4th century by the Roman Emperor Maxentius. This saint seems to parallel the experience in “Pyx” as well as her brother’s death or her sister surviving a car accident and more specifically in “Gospel of the Organ Donor” and to some extent in “The Thundering” and the final poems of section “II. Without.”

Saint Catherine of Sienna

Saint Catherine of Sienna

Giacomo di Benincasa and a forty-year-old Lapa (who already had 22 children) gave birth to twins during the Black Death era. One daughter was St. Catherine of Siena and the other was Giovana. The latter, raised by a wet nurse, died, but Catherine, who was raised by her mother, Lapa, lived a more healthy life. At age five or six, she had a vision of a smiling Jesus Christ who blessed her. A year later she vowed herself to chastity, and when her parents forced her to marry she refused and fasted, and during times of trouble she would build a cell within her mind from which she could never flee. She lived her life trying to reject her family. Later Jesus told her to live a more public life in the world. This has parallels with the 42-year-old mother in “Poem for the Adoptive Mother” and the sister in “Without” and other poems.

Saint Bernadette

Saint Bernadette

St. Bernadette is also an incorruptible saint. Of her parents’ five children, she was the only one to survive infancy. Bernadette had visions of the Virgin Mary and repeated her words, including when Mary told Bernadette that she would not find happiness in this world but would find it in the next world. I see parallels to a number of places with this saint but especially in these lines from “Visiting Hour”:

                                this is how 

                       dying is, my breath 

        slipping under
   everywhere at once – see the balloon 

   you brought, how it lifts and sags,
   this is what I've become 

              on the other side.
Saint Theresa

Saint Theresa

St. Theresa is another incorruptible saint. She ran away from home at age seven with her brother in order to find martyrdom. She too had visions of Christ and angels. In one vision, an angel drove the fiery point of lance through her, or as she said:

I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron’s point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it.

The story of St. Theresa has close parallels to “The Half-Brother” and especially with the final five lines of “Poem for the Adoptive Mother”:

   How when you said to me years later, "I knew
   when I saw you," I want to think of myself

   reaching for your bright mouth,
   your turquoise necklace,

   everything I could get my hands on.

Where I said “catapult” before in reference to “Offer It Up,” I should have said centripetal force as the poems have gone full circle from “Annunciation” to the secular world back to the religious world and launched off:

   To which the air fills
   with living, with sugar,

   with reviviscence. Go forth beauty, birds

   of blossoms, sweetness. Made of sky,
   bring stingers, the form of tongues

   of fire, bring dawn over stones, over
   the awakened heart. Bring splendor,

   the last rising breath. Every question
   of death, a desire:

   go forth a field, a dizzying cloud.

I know I mentioned there are some religious poems in here, but don’t run in fear. They are done well, and they aren’t specifically religious but have religious content. What I said of emotion above can be said of religion in these poems too. In the poems in Amanda Auchter‘s The Glass Crib, your mind will be moved as well as your heart, soul, and spirit, and what else could you want from poems?//




The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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