Monday 16 December 2019

Cara Waterfall : part five

When you require renewal, is there a particular poem or book that you return to? A particular author? 

I re-read Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith. She is masterful in the way she writes about Hurricane Katrina. She inhabits various personas — dogs, elderly patients at a nursing home, and the hurricane itself — and gives voice to the suffering of those left behind and those who survived. She is also gifted at a myriad of poetic forms, including the sestina and abecedarian, and her poetic language is second to none. But all her poetry books are worthy of inspiration.

Paisley Rekdal is another favourite. Imaginary Vessels is a book in which each poem is linked to inhabiting a particular vessel, whether it is a public persona (her Mae West sonnets are incredible) or a rumination on bubbles in a playground, where the narrator’s “thinnest edge / of dream still wavers, the one where the doctor tells me / I am carrying, but will not tell me what / or when.” The “Wartime Devotional” on portraits of skulls unearthed near the Colorado Mental Health Institute is particularly moving.

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