James Arthur & Sara London

Please join us Thursday, February 6, 2020 at 7:00 pm, for our first reading of the new year! Poets James Arthur and Sara London will continue the thirteenth season of the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)

James Arthur

James Arthur was born in Connecticut and grew up in Canada. He is the author of the poetry collection The Suicide’s Son (Véhicule Press 2019) and Charms Against Lightning (Copper Canyon Press 2012).

Arthur’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The New York Review of Books, and The London Review of Books. He has received the Amy Lowell Travelling Poetry Scholarship, a Hodder Fellowship, a Stegner Fellowship, a Discovery/The Nation Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship to Northern Ireland, and a visiting fellowship at Exeter College, Oxford. He teaches at Johns Hopkins University.

Sara London

Sara London is the author of Upkeep (2019) and The Tyranny of Milk (2010), both published by Four Way Books. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including The Common, Quarterly West, The Hudson Review, Poetry East, The Iowa Review, and the Poetry Daily anthology. She teaches at Smith College, and has also taught at Mount Holyoke and Amherst colleges. Born in San Francisco, Sara grew up in California and in Burlington, Vermont, received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and lived for many years in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She’s reviewed children’s books for The New York Times Book Review, and has authored two books for children. Sara is the poetry editor at The Woven Tale Press. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

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ODE TO THE HEART / James Arthur

I know it’s the brain, not you,
that loves, or fails to love.
You don’t turn cold over time;
you don’t grow fonder.

But if I needed reminding
of what I have in common
with the ibis or the snail,
the narwhal or the tiger,
I could slip my hand
inside my shirt and feel you
at my core, a clockwork fist
clenching and unclenching,
lumping out your truth,
survive, survive, survive.

These valentines that at best
approximate your form—
you’re blind to them, and to
the star-crossed lovers who
only speak their lines
and die. You don’t care
whether poems rhyme;
whether poets of yesteryear
used up the mountains
and trademarked the sea;
you’re indifferent to poetry.

At times, mid-conversation,
I feel you inside me, poised
for flight—a prehistoric
bird, hungry to prey
and ravage. Other times
I think you’re talking to me
from your cage, instructing me:
if I know what I’m doing,
I’m not doing it right.

(First published in Poetry Northwest)

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WAYFARER / Sara London

To say I sail would not account for my whereabouts,
or suggest the horizon is evident, or the north star
to be found. Wind rustles and retreats, and it’s
entirely commonplace to find me plying

headlong into the froth of my own wake.
I do gaze. Distance is something I debate
as I dream, awake in ambient brine next to you.
Next to you I clang bells at the moon’s milk-load

of wattage. I pay a medium toll for mixing up
stern and bow, mast and staff, suggestible (gullible)
and suggestive (evocative). Sank, sunk, etc., et alia.
But as I fumble metaphors in the lee of the licks

and in the Milky Way’s way, your field tenders
its miracle magnet, tugging me through Cabo-de-Hornos blows,
. . . . . . . . . . . . . ensuring I skirt shoalings wending home.
.

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