One Illuminated Letter of Being, Donald Platt’s new collection of thirty-two heart-wrenching poems, is oriented around the loss of his mother—itself a disorienting experience, for anyone—that anticipates her death, reconciles itself to it, and resumes living, in a new way.
I’m sorry I stabbed Vann Marsden in the eye. It’s terrible that his wife had to die in the aftermath. The fact that she was already ill and couldn’t take the strain doesn’t alter my sadness over her passing, but when a director takes all the movies you love and remakes them as stark, near silent catalogs of gestures, the critic has to respond.
When we think of sticks, do we think tree; oh / bramble of me; what part of us, scatters wind, / becomes home to something other; how your / skinny bones in drape, mulberry limbs; oh slats / of light, ribs of; & dusk always resides in chest,
As kids, we don’t usually second guess adults. We tend to view them as infallible, since they’ve put in the time that we haven’t. So when Suzie told us that we were going to Broadway, I believed her. We all did. After all, everything we did was extraordinary, wasn’t it?
Our parents constantly reminded us to stay away from the tracks. Parents are always nattering on about things to avoid—eating before exercise, eating before bed, eating in bed, crossing the street without looking both ways, acquiring a lover who is ten years older with an addiction to Xanax, not getting grossly drunk at a wedding and peeing in the azaleas—that it eventually becomes hard to imagine they had any fun in their own probably non-existent childhoods.
It’s enough to sit down in the middle of the street, / the garbage trucks picking up trash, / the school buses stopping and starting, / the dirty rain falling from the neon clouds;
The road narrowed down and twisted as they got closer to the lake. The hot air hit Marcus’s face, and he smelled algae and ashes. He thought that this might be the place. “Let’s camp here,” he said and stopped the car.
Because devotion. Because ether. Because the saint holds a paintbrush, his sorrow. Because the grass may grow sharply, its knives. Because wonder.
ut that Carroll, a food historian whose delightful nonfiction book, Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal (Basic Books, 2013) garnered strong reviews, was simply gearing up for her emergence as an extraordinary nature poet in the tradition of, among others, Wordsworth, Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and Mary Oliver.
The minister is at the Days of Jesus before the girl arrives. He is in his office, waiting. His sermon is written and placed on the pulpit and he waits for the girl to arrive as he has all summer. She comes in the side door and takes the stairs to the basement practice room where she says she is working on her scales. The minister’s office has a large glass wall facing the basement. The girl looks up. The minister is standing at the bank of windows.