Please join us Thursday, July 5, 2018, at 7:00 pm, when poets Ben Berman and Janice Sorensen will close out the eleventh season of the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)
Ben Berman’s first book, Strange Borderlands, won the 2014 Peace Corps Award for Best Book of Poetry and was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Awards. His second book of poems, Figuring in the Figure, came out last year from Able Muse Press and his new collection of short prose,Then Again, is due out later this year from Vine Leaves Press. He has received awards from the New England Poetry Club and fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Somerville Arts Council. He teaches in the Boston area, where he lives with his wife and daughters.
Janice Sorensen is a visual artist as well as poet and has been the recipient of art and writing grants. Her work appears in The Massachusetts Review and Hall of History, published by the National Museum of Bermuda Press. She wrote with The Splinter Group for eight years and is the founding member of Cloud Saddle Writers. Her spoken word performances include the Moth, the Mole, and The Shad Ladder Radio Hour, as well as the several short films based on her writings. She lives with her partner Michael and a fluctuating number of cats, goats, dogs and chickens at Magpie Farm & Art, in Buckland, Massachusetts.
ROOTS AND WINGS / Ben Berman
There are only two lasting bequests
we can hope to give our children.
One of these is roots; the other wings.
– Hodding Carter
You can only hush and hum for so long,
rock and cradle so much, before you’re ready
to admit that your newborn’s not nuzzling
into your chest but rooting at your dry
nipple, before you reluctantly pass
her to your wife and take over the laundry,
wondering what it would be like to express
your letdowns – to let them flow freely
from your body – instead of all the repressed
whimpers you make when your daughter falls
asleep and you step on those windup
chattering teeth and have to flail
about like an upturned tree in the wind,
your roots flapping so hard they look like wings.
AT TIMES / Janice Sorensen
I imagine me on a little stand having just been carved from a potato.
I picture me fluttering down from the sky like little scraps of paper.
Sometimes I’m the click of a dark woman’s heels
as she moves from the sink with a bowl in her hand.
In times of sorrow I climb out of my burrow and waddle oblongly
like a groundhog’s shadow.
I am one little dot just above the equator waiting for you to kiss me,
one hand braced on Brazil.
Talk to me burning ember, undouse my sky with the constant glow
only you and Mars can give.
Tell me I am flax or tell me I am sugar cane,
then turn me to liquid or cuzo or linen.
Transcribe me onto paper.
I am the hum a child makes in order to feel her lips tickle.
Now you do it too.