Thursday, November 7, 2013, at 7:00 pm, poets Amanda Auchter, Lori Desrosiers, and Gail Martin will continue the seventh season of the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)
Amanda Auchter is the author of The Wishing Tomb, winner of the 2012 Perugia Press Prize and the 2013 PEN Center USA Award in Poetry. She is also the author of The Glass Crib, winner of the 2010 Zone 3 Press First Book Award, and the chapbook, Light Under Skin. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Theodore Morrison Poetry Scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Marica and Jan Vilcek Prize for Poetry, the Mary C. Mohr Poetry Award, and the James Wright Poetry Award. She is the founding editor of Pebble Lake Review, and holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She teaches creative writing and literature at Lone Star College in Houston, Texas.
Lori Desrosiers’s first full-length book of poetry, The Philosopher’s Daughter was published by Salmon Poetry in March, 2013. A chapbook, Three Vanities, was published by Pudding House in 2009. Her poems have appeared in New Millenium Review, Contemporary American Voices, BigCityLit, Concise Delights, Blue Fifth Review, Pirene’s Fountain, The New Verse News, Common Ground Review, and many others, including a prompt in Wingbeats, a book of writing exercises from Dos Gatos Press and a poem in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish-American Poetry. Her MFA in Poetry is from New England College. She is editor and publisher of Naugatuck River Review, a journal of narrative poetry, and also edits Poetry News, an online events calendar for western MA and vicinity. Her website is http://loridesrosiers.com.
Gail Martin is the author of Begin Empty-Handed, winner of the 2013 Perugia Press Prize. Her first book is The Hourglass Heart (New Issues Press, 2003). She is a Michigan native with deep roots in both southern and northern Michigan. She works as a psychotherapist in private practice in Kalamazoo, where she lives with her husband, George, and her dog, Piper.
THE CITY THAT CARE FORGOT / Amanda Auchter
You were here once; you will be here again. —Joanna Klink
What brings you back is the sugared air
that seeps its way through
the streets. The scrolled iron balconies,
banana-leaved courtyards, gas lamps draped
with bright plastic beads. Not the water-
stained drywall, crushed fence, the X-
marked houses. Not the ruin
of mosquito fever, flood, the history
of bodies hung by the neck in trees,
but how the river collects daylight, the sound
of trumpets in late afternoon. You return to this
humid sweep, the second lines of handkerchiefs,
magnolia in every scene. Long ago,
this was the city that care forgot: mold-scarred,
splintered chairs washing upstream. A city
of tents, of wind-wrapped shutters, shotgun
houses. What brings you back. The city
turns its umbrellas in the sun, lights fire
for roux. What calls you: the music
of a gate opening onto Tchoupitoulas Street,
chicory-heat, the roof tiles
in the black sky. The water. The rising.
(From The Wishing Tomb, published by Perugia Press, © 2012 Amanda Auchter. Used with permission.)
THAT POMEGRANATE SHINE / Lori Desrosiers
Two brides arise from the river, shivering and shining like pomegranate seeds.
– Words from an Armenian Song
I was the wrong kind of bride,
more sweat than glisten,
more peach than pomegranate.
At twenty-three, in love with marriage,
not the man,
I plunged into rough water,
bringing grandmother’s candlesticks,
mother’s books and two silver trays.
Ten years later, I emerged shivering,
dragging my ragged volumes,
one candlestick and two babies.
On the bank, I shook off the water
Standing with my children,
looking out over the river,
the new brides asked me where
I got that pomegranate shine.
FIRST SESSION / Gail Martin
You come to keen for your daughter, dead
by oncology just two weeks. In my notes,
I write down burnt caramel frosting, chocolate
cupcakes made with stout. You tell me how
her head swelled up from the steroids, describe
spasms and hemorrhage. I write, dad riding
in the trunk of a Chevy Coupe from Michigan
to Missouri, 1940. I’m on the dock, arguing
about minnows. I say pedal, he says he couldn’t
think of a worse verb to describe the way they
move. I say flicker then skitter, but the water
is so clear and minnow rhymes with winnowing,
that gradual scattering and blowing away. Which
is what’s happening to my parents who walk
holding hands, back to shore.
…………………………………………….Your words disappear
faster than watches from the wrists of old people
in nursing homes. You sleep on a blow-up mattress
in the living room, her ashes on the bed beside you.
You want to know if that is sick. I write down
the summer I underlined much of Corinthians,
and what boy doesn’t love a shipwreck?
(From Begin Empty-Handed, published by Perugia Press, © 2013 Gail Martin. Used with permission.)