Heather Christle & Wendy Xu

This month’s reading will be a week later to accommodate the AWP Conference held this year in Boston:

Thursday, March 14, 2013, at 7:00 pm, poets Heather Christle and Wendy Xu will continue the sixth season of the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)

Heather Christle

Heather Christle

Heather Christle is the author of What Is Amazing (Wesleyan University Press, 2012), The Difficult Farm (Octopus Books, 2009), and The Trees The Trees (Octopus Books, 2011), which won the 2012 Believer Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared in publications including Boston ReviewGulf CoastThe New Yorker, and The Best American Poetry. She teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College, and has also taught at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Emory University, where she was the 2009-2011 Poetry Writing Fellow. She is the Web Editor for jubilat, the coordinator of the Royal Society of Hadley for Improving Natural Knowledge at Flying Object, and frequently a writer in residence at the Juniper Summer Writing Institute. A native of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, she lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Wendy Xu

Wendy Xu

Wendy Xu is the author of You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013) and two chapbooks: THE HERO POEMS (H_NGM_N 2011) and I Was Not Even Born (Coconut Books 2013), a collaborative work with Nick Sturm. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Best American Poetry 2013, Best of the Net 2012, Gulf Coast, Columbia Poetry Review;and elsewhere. She co-edits & publishes iO: A Journal of New American Poetry / iO Books, and lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.


BASIC / Heather Christle

This program is designed to move a white line
from one side of the screen to the other.

This program is not too hard, but it has
a sad ending and that makes people cry.

This program is designed to make people cry
and step away when they are finished.

In one variation the line moves diagonally
up and in another diagonally down.

This makes people cry differently,
diagonally.  A whole room of people

crying in response to this program’s
variations results in beautiful music.

This program is designed to make such
beautiful music that it feels like at last

they have allowed you to take the good canoe
into the lake of your own choosing

and above you the sky exposes one
or two real eagles, the water

warm or marked with stones,
however you like it, blue.



You are part of other people but not
like them. You live in a little wooden box
and wake up with your face
in your palm and some sunlight.
Which is a sign of resignation but not
for you. Which is part of what I meant
by trying to affect change
in myself and also talking. By describing
to you that before a city can become
spectacular its buildings must put on
an iron gown. And then some workers
climb all around it. And it is like having
no teeth because you are waiting
for better teeth. I tell you I am very attached
to my old teeth. In a game called all of this
is hypothetical I did not once slide
my teeth across the table. I do not
even remember what you offered
as the hypothetical exchange for a life
where I only drink soup. There were
some girls on their bikes
and wind. There were some people
reuniting after many years apart or just
a day. You were not like everyone else
making demands with wild
gesticulations. I thought about maybe
trying to sharpen my knowledge
of jokes. I thought about really
needing a hug. A very important car
with sirens rumbled by and sounded
exactly right.