Patrick Donnelly & January Gill O’Neil

Please join us Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 7:00 pm, when poets Patrick Donnelly and January Gill O’Neil will close out the twelfth season of the Collected Poets Series! Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)

Patrick Donnelly

Patrick Donnelly is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Little-Known Operas from Four Way Books in 2019. About Donnelly’s most recent book, Mary Ruefle wrote: “The poems in Little-Known Operas delight me with their wit, pathos, expertly executed confusion, and their sincere and exuberant wondering.” Donnelly is director of the Poetry Seminar at The Frost Place, Robert Frost’s old homestead in Franconia, New Hampshire, now a center for poetry and the arts. Donnelly was 2015 – 2017 poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts. His other awards include the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature, and a 2018 Amy Clampitt Residency Award. More at http://www.patrickdonnellypoetry.com.

January Gill O’Neil (Photo credit: John Andrews)

January Gill O’Neil is the author of Rewilding (fall 2018), Misery Islands (2014), and Underlife (2009), published by CavanKerry Press. She is an assistant professor of English at Salem State University, and boards of trustees member with the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and Montserrat College of Art. From 2012-2018, she served as executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival. A Cave Canem fellow, January’s poems and articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day series, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, and Ecotone, among others. In 2018, January was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant, and was named the John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence for 2019-2020 at the University of Mississippi, Oxford. She lives with her two children in Beverly, Massachusetts.

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LORCA’S LIPS / Patrick Donnelly

Clumsy, coarse of feature, it is said.
One leg shorter than the other.

Liar, about works he intended to compose,
which he said were almost finished.

Which he hadn’t even begun (like me,
spiller of seed, waster of his little time).

In mirrored cafes and at piano keyboards
gossiper, debater, uncombed, untied.

Carnal clown, answering the door in underpants,
Luis Cernuda naked on the daybed, explaining

“We were doing tumbling exercises.”
Mooch, living pampered off Papá,

until in ‘31 he put on his blue overalls,
making from nothing a theater of the people,

sensuous, narrative, a school for
weeping and laughing,

like passing a consecrated host
from one mouth to another and another forever.

Weeper, who, told he’d be shot that day,
asked the guard “Will I be damned?”

(Whose bones they’ve never yet found, digging
under the olives at Fuente Grande.)

Truant, mystical, timid, pompous, distracted, kind.
His delicate moles,

the mourning cap of his hair
descending always to a peak.

Oh Lorca, you restless, lazy maricón, get up
suddenly and press the lips

of your shallow grave to mine.

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HOODIE / January Gill O’Neil

A gray hoodie will not protect my son
from rain, from the New England cold.

I see the partial eclipse of his face
as his head sinks into the half-dark

and shades his eyes. Even in our
quiet suburb with its unlocked doors,

I fear for his safety—the darkest child
on our street in the empire of blocks.

Sometimes I don’t know who he is anymore
traveling the back roads between boy and man.

He strides a deep stride, pounds a basketball
into wet pavement. Will he take his shot

or is he waiting for the open-mouthed
orange rim to take a chance on him? I sing

his name to the night, ask for safe passage
from this borrowed body into the next

and wonder who could mistake him
for anything but good.

—Originally published in Green Mountain Review

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