Please join us Thursday, February 1, 2018, at 7:00 pm, when poets Kirun Kapur and Mary A. Koncel will read for the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)
Kirun Kapur is the winner of the Arts & Letters Rumi Prize in Poetry and the Antivenom Poetry Award for her first book, Visiting Indira Gandhi’s Palmist (Elixir Press, 2015). Her work has appeared in AGNI, Poetry International, FIELD, Prairie Schooner and many other journals. She has taught creative writing at Boston University, Brandeis University and is currently a visiting writer at Amherst College. Kapur has been awarded fellowships from The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Vermont Studio Center and MacDowell Colony. She is the director of the New England arts program, The Tannery Series, and serves as Poetry Editor at The Drum Literary Magazine. She was recently named an “Asian-American poet to watch” by NBC news. Kapur grew up in Honolulu and now lives north of Boston.
Mary A. Koncel has published three books: The Last Blonde (Hedgerow Books), Closer to Day (Quale Press) and You Can Tell the Horse Anything (Tupelo Press). She was a recipient of a poetry fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and a finalist for the Poetry Society of Americas Norma Farber First Book Award. Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including The Massachusetts Review, Denver Review, Barrow Street, The Prose Poem: An International Journal, and No Boundaries: Prose Poems by 25 American Poets. She lives in Worthington, Massachusetts with her husband and many animals.
FROM THE AFTERLIFE / Kirun Kapur
I wanted to be a bone—white like
the Taj Mahal, hard as a puritan—
when vein and wish are stripped,
still able to rattle the essential notes.
But no music gets made when you pit
your self against ideas of yourself.
Dust suits me better. Grey-brown fleck—
I can mix, move into the smallest space,
spark the grittiest tunes. Divide me
into fifty states: winsome, wondering, crazed, my face
scattered by teaspoon. Over the Great Basin
of played out mines and salts rising in a haze,
over hard farmed heartland, the bent
fair-headed wheat, the combine’s cloud,
silt along the fat lip of river bed. Semis
hissing and grumbling in tongues.
I can still feel the hum of the telephone wires,
running from one life to another. I filled these lines
in case a story is a body, in case we lose our place.
Hello? Friend? I can touch everything,
but can’t stop thinking. Turns out, thoughts
granulate. Turns out, I never was a girl, I was all
those girls, a girl statue, torch raised, you know the one—
standing in the harbor, wearing a sari.
The tide foams up. Now, I’m so much dust,
I am a continent, absorbing—a thimble full
of mother, angry powder, laughing specks, froth,
filth, lover, crying cinders, particles of mineral wind.
I’m proof that nothing is lost.
You can breathe me in.
WOMANLY BODY PARTS / Mary A. Koncel
In Bulgaria, certain womanly body parts are known as womanly body parts. Listen. I have a theory. In the beginning, all women were conceived in Bulgaria. On day one, rain flooded their dreams, so they banged tin pots and rode between rocks, skirts spread across the necks of sullen donkeys. On day two, they took hard names. Come closer. I will whisper to you because I respect the lucidity of tongues, because I know that desire never begins without incident. My proof, you ask? In The Big Book of Womanly Body Parts, a good man, like you, stands behind a woman, like me. She sits, writing about grapes and too much sun. Now turn the page. Watch him rest a hand on her shoulder as he thinks how easily skin can meet skin, his fingers drifting open and down the wake of her back.
From The Last Blonde (Hedgerow, 2017)