These Just In
This afternoon I picked up two new books of poems I had ordered through The Bookman, our local bookstore, which I am glad to say is up and running again after the fire. The first is Sonata Mulattica by Rita Dove (W.W. Norton, 2009), which tells the story of George Polgreen Bridgetower (1780-1860), a half-African, half-European musician who was a contemporary of Haydn and Beethoven. I heard Dove talking about the book on NPR and it sounded interesting for many reasons, not least (to me) being the opportunity to study how Dove balances lyric and narrative as she tells the story of a very real, though somewhat obscure, historical figure.
The second book is Jim Harrison's In Search of Small Gods (Copper Canyon Press, 2009). I am always happy to have a new collection from Harrison, who is primarily known as a fiction writer, but whose true and lasting gift, in my opinion, is as a poet.
Here's a short poem from Harrison's book that is particularly timely, since today is both Good Friday and a full moon.
Release yourself. Life is a shock to the system.
It was to the small javelina ever flattening
on the yellow line on a hot afternoon.
Release yourself. You've always doubted cars,
remembering when trains and horses were enough
and boats kept our ocean skies unmarred.
Release yourself. Your doubt is only the patina
of shit the culture paints on those in the margins.
Tomorrow the full moon is on Good Friday,
the blind face of the gods who can't see us anymore.