About Me

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As the resident artist at EcoHealth, I pen verse these days inspired by the specter of future pandemics; for my dissertation at Amerika-Institut of LMU M√ľnchen, where I edit a weekly circular on poetry, I'm anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson's sonnets—I also teach English, tutor composition, and lead a literary circle.

20171117

Song of Myself 1 (1892)

celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil,
     this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and
     their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never
     forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

Walt Whitman

20171113

Reuben Bright

by E. A. Robinson

Because he was a butcher and thereby 
Did earn an honest living (and did right), 
I would not have you think that Reuben Bright 
Was any more a brute than you or I; 
For when they told him that his wife must die, 
He stared at them, and shook with grief and fright, 
And cried like a great baby half that night, 
And made the women cry to see him cry. 

And after she was dead, and he had paid 
The singers and the sexton and the rest, 
He packed a lot of things that she had made 
Most mournfully away in an old chest 
Of hers, and put some chopped-up cedar boughs 
In with them, and tore down the slaughter-house. 

Note: A recitation can be heard here.

20171112

Security

by Bill Knott

If I had a magic carpet
I'd keep it
Floating always
Right in front of me
Perpendicular, like a door.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20171107

Aubade

by Jane Shore

Each day, each morning, before the sun can touch
one edge of anything, within the oak’s shadow
an unfamiliar bird begins to sing.
Against the sky,
the leaves the dark has polished are now
shingled like the grisaille wings of the bird,
and the whole garden’s gone over with the same
meticulous hand, the grass held down
with long, even stitches, as morning settles
on the rosebush, anchored by each thorn.
On the near hill there are flowers like small fires.
Inside the house, a man and woman are sleeping.
Daylight’s an infusion of pain so slight
each barely feels it ribboning down the spine
until the bird begins to call them
back into the landscape their closed eyes
labor to admit.
For an instant, the man sees himself
twist up to light as he reaches for the woman
preparing to open herself to him,
as later, earth will take his body wholly in.

Note: A recitation can be heard here.

20171102

Two Quatrains

by E. A. Robinson


I


As eons of incalculable strife
Are in the vision of one moment caught,
So are the common, concrete things of life
Divinely shadowed on the walls of Thought.

II

We shriek to live, but no man ever lives
       
Till he has rid the ghost of human breath;
We dream to die, but no man ever dies
Till he has quit the road that runs to death.



Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20171025

Sonnet

by Edwin Arlington Robinson

When we can all so excellently give
The measure of love's wisdom with a blow,
Why can we not in turn receive it so,
And end this murmur for the life we live?
And when we do so frantically strive
To win strange faith, why do we shun to know
That in love's elemental over-glow
God's wholeness gleams with light superlative?

Oh, brother men, if you have eyes at all,
Look at a branch, a bird, a child, a rose,
Or anything God ever made that grows,
Nor let the smallest vision of it slip,
Till you read, as on Belshazzar's wall,
The glory of eternal partnership.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20171019

Aftermath

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


When the summer fields are mown, 
When the birds are fledged and flown, 
      And the dry leaves strew the path; 
With the falling of the snow, 
With the cawing of the crow, 
Once again the fields we mow 
      And gather in the aftermath. 

Not the sweet, new grass with flowers 
Is this harvesting of ours; 
      Not the upland clover bloom; 
But the rowen mixed with weeds, 
Tangled tufts from marsh and meads, 
Where the poppy drops its seeds 
      In the silence and the gloom. 

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.