Abby E. Murray & Ellen Doré Watson

Please join us Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 7:00 pm, when poets Abby E. Murray and Ellen Doré Watson will continue the thirteenth season of the Collected Poets Series! Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)

Abby E. Murray [Photo credit: Jenny L. Miller]

Abby E. Murray‘s first collection Hail and Farewell won the 2019 Perugia Press Prize. She completed her MFA at Pacific University and her PhD in English at SUNY Binghamton. She’s taught creative writing at high school and university levels and currently teaches argumentative writing to U.S. Army War College fellows sent to the University of Washington. Abby is the editor of Collateral, a literary journal concerned with the impact of violent conflict and military service beyond the combat zone, and as the 2019-2021 poet laureate for the city of Tacoma, Washington, she offers free poetry workshops around Pierce County, including at military posts and detention centers for undocumented youth.

Ellen Doré Watson

Ellen Doré Watson is the author of five full-length collections of poems, most recently pray me stay eager from Alice James Books. Earlier works include Dogged Hearts, from Tupelo Press, This Sharpening, also from Tupelo, and two others from Alice James Books, We Live in Bodies and Ladder Music, winner of the New England/New York award. Watson’s journal appearances include APR, Tin House, Orion, Field, Ploughshares, and The New Yorker. Among her honors are a Rona Jaffe Writers Award, fellowships to the MacDowell Colony and to Yaddo, and a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship. She has translated nine volumes from Brazilian Portuguese, most notably the poetry of Adélia Prado, including The Alphabet in the Park (Wesleyan University Press), Ex-Voto (Tupelo), and, most recently The Mystical Rose, from the UK poetry publisher Bloodaxe Books. Watson serves as poetry and translation editor of The Massachusetts Review and core faculty at Drew University’s Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Poetry and Translation.

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THE FALLING BODY / Abby E. Murray

When our daughter falls
down the carpeted hotel stairs,

her body translates to others
you’ve seen before,

fingers outstretched in search of anchor,
elbows locked into columns.

You didn’t catch those bodies
either, not even a sleeve.

She howls. You scream for me
the way a medic screamed for you,

yelling as if I don’t kneel
on the same carpet you cradle her on,

its red lotus design bursting
like fire at night.

We lean into each other like ruins
beneath a glittering chandelier,

our backs to the guests
who line up to check out.

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THE FIELD WANTS ITS SHEEP BACK / Ellen Doré Watson

Of course that’s me talking, but why wouldn’t
it want a tickle of hooves, a warming of shit,
less empty? Sheep with their panoramic vision

are stressed by isolation, and sometimes
given mirrors, which comfort. Alone
can be expansive—balm or terror. Cold

is plural, swoops-seeps into the crowd
of everything else that is. (The Victorians
spent fully half their time trying to get

warm. Nowadays, only the poor, the jailed.)
Granted the lux of hearth or heat, frigid
is simply a slap, a tightening, survivable.

Cold is no shroud, but a re-awakening,
the way the death of a friend of a friend
enlivens after it saddens. Come no closer

says my every watery cell. Cost costs.
Still-greenish tufts offer themselves up
all the way to the tree-line. Despite

summer’s sheep, they slowly whiten.
Let me spend wisely what I have,
which is only my breath—thin, visible

body-heat. I am but a small animal.
.

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