North American Women Poets in the 21st Century

ebook Beyond Lyric and Language · American Poets in the 21st Century

By Lisa Sewell

cover image of North American Women Poets in the 21st Century

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North American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Beyond Lyric and Language is an important new addition to the American Poets in the 21st Century series. Like the earlier anthologies, this volume includes generous selections of poetry by some of the best poets of our time as well as illuminating poetics statements and incisive essays on their work. Among the insightful pieces included in this volume are essays by Catherine Cucinella on Marilyn Chin, Meg Tyler on Fanny Howe, Elline Lipkin on Alice Notley, Kamran Javadizadeh on Claudia Rankine, and many more. A companion web site will present audio of each poet's work.

Calling, Natasha Trethewey

Mexico 1969
Why not make a fiction

of the mind's fictions? I want to say
it begins like this: the trip

a pilgrimage, my mother
kneeling at the altar of the Black Virgin,
enthralled—light streaming in
a window, the sun
at her back, holy water
in a bowl she must have touched.

What's left is palimpsest—one memory
bleeding into another, overwriting it.
How else to explain

what remains? The sound
of water in a basin I know is white,

the sun behind her, light streaming in,
her face—

as if she were already dead—blurred
as it will become.

I want to imagine her beforethe altar, rising to meet us, my father
lifting me

toward her outstretched arms.
What else to make
of the mind's slick confabulations?
What comes back

is the sun's dazzle on a pool's surface,
light filtered through water
closing over my head, my mother—her body between me and the high sun, a corona of light
around her face.
Why not call it a vision? What I know is this:
I was drowning and saw a dark Madonna;
someone pulled me through
the water's bright ceiling
and I rose, initiate,
from one life into another.

North American Women Poets in the 21st Century