Thursday, February 6, 2014, at 7:00 pm, poets George Drew, Ravi Shankar, and Nancy White 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)
George Drew was born in Mississippi and raised there and in New York State, where he currently lives. He is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently The View from Jackass Hill, the 2010 winner of the X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, Texas Review Press, 2011. His sixth collection, Fancy’s Orphan, will be published in 2015 by Tiger Bark Press. His reviews and essays have appeared in Louisiana Literature, FutureCycle, Off the Coast, BigCityLit, The Texas Review, and Literary Matters (ALSCW—Boston). Recently several of his poems appeared in Birchsong: Poetry Centered in Vermont, and he has poems currently in or upcoming in I-70 Review, Louisiana Literature, Naugatuck River Review, The Nassau Review, Atticus Review, Gargoyle Magazine, Solstice, Main Street Rag, Valley Voices, Turtle Island Quarterly, Jabberwock Review, Little Patuxent Review, and Harpur Palate. He was nominated in 2013 for a Pushcart Prize, and Texas Review Press will publish his chapbook, Down & Dirty, which was a finalist for its Robert Phillips Chapbook Prize, this fall.
Ravi Shankar is the founding editor and Executive Director of DrunkenBoat, one of the world’s oldest electronic journals of the arts. He has published or edited seven books and chapbooks of poetry, including the 2010 National Poetry Review Prize winner, Deepening Groove. Along with Tina Chang and Nathalie Handal, he edited W.W. Norton’s Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from Asia, the Middle East & Beyond, called “a beautiful achievement for world literature” by Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer. He has won a Pushcart Prize, been featured in The New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education, appeared as a commentator on the BBC, the PBS Newshour and NPR, received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and has performed his work around the world. He is currently Chairman of the Connecticut Young Writers Trust, on the faculty of the first international MFA Program at City University of Hong Kong and an Associate Professor of English at Central Connecticut State University.
Nancy White‘s first book, Sun, Moon, Salt, won the Washington Prize for poetry and a second edition was issued by The Word Works in 2009. Tamarack Editions published her second collection of poems, Detour, in the spring of 2010. Her poems appear in many journals, including Antioch Review, Black Warrior Review, Cincinnati Review, Diner, FIELD, The Journal, Massachusetts Review, Nimrod, Poet Lore, Rattle, Seneca Review, Sojourners, and Washington Square. She has received grants or residencies from The MacDowell Colony, The Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and The Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council. She lives in upstate New York.
THE OLDER I GET THE MORE I THINK OF KEATS / George Drew
The older I get the more I think of Keats,
not Keats on his death bed in Rome but Keats
the moment he said goodbye to Fanny, Keats
with her sure hand in his. I think of Keats
drenched on a day like this one—that is, Keats
boarding a coach in Hampstead, drowning; Keats,
one hand in Fanny’s, the other flailing; Keats
the moment before the door clicks shut and Keats
turns from Fanny and murmurs, Alas, poor Keats!
And I think of Fanny at the moment Keats
pulled his hand away, how rather than the Keats
of flesh and blood, the warm and capable Keats
wooing her on the moors, what she had was Keats
the disembodied, the loitering ghost of Keats.
And then the moment passed and so did Keats.
SAG HARBOR / Ravi Shankar
-for Julie Sheehan
Sailboat adrift in a river, no tide to speak of, fishermen
having pulled up their nets, packed away their poles.
On both sides, mirrors & because no one is there to see,
a solitary boat bobbing. Elsewhere, bar codes & car bombs,
but here, in the presence of no one, a song lifts from water
in the shape of an envelope. A small, letter-sated song,
almost lullaby, serenading the boat that is surrounded
by mirrors, the fish beneath the boat slightly hanging back,
lacking ears to hear the song. A return-to-sender song,
stamped & spindled, out of date, handled by many hands
but not the right ones. The boat has no hands, just a sail
slack over windless water, waiting to be drowned or found.
WHEN SUSAN B. ANTHONY WAS PRESIDENT / Nancy White
The children and cattle and bees had votes,
paving spoke and old buckets sang. She
didn’t campaign or draft promises, it happened
the way crops reach toward Demeter, the way
water runs to the center of a leaf. The past
became a word men couldn’t use, like an old log
below the water not clearly visible and when
an angler catches his hook on it all he can do
is cut the line. When Susan B. Anthony
was president, our children knew the names
of all the small brown birds, there were no
wrong spellings any more. Skirts stopped
denying legs and instead spoke them. Nests
flew away from the barn, curtains refused
windows, the doors flung off their hinges.
For that brief four-year term, we studied
her perfect voice, its adamant muscle,
we loved our liberated wheatfields,
the renounced territory of spices,
the sudden and utter remorse of history.