08 - Rock Vein Sky by Charlotte Mandel Sept 6, 2008 20:43:12 GMT 2
Post by shayepoet on Sept 6, 2008 20:43:12 GMT 2
Rock Vein Sky
"Charlotte Mandel's innovative work in Rock Vein Sky is
uncompromisingly muscular in its seeming plainness and in the hard
blows it gives out. Here is a poet steeped in the clarity of memory,
who dares to link public brutality with the searingly
counterintuitive, who can speak of "a vaccine to prevent / sweetness
in the tastes of war," who can invent words ("outsuffering" is one)
powerful enough to outrun the times. Rock Vein Sky is a collection
as stunning as it is sobering."
-- Cynthia Ozick
At twelve, she hasn't learned how to keen.
In this season where smoke and bodily debris
screen the sky's windy absence of rain,
women's voices ululate lament
and lay mouths to kiss crumbs of earth
graves dug by old men and boys.
Aiming at the camera, bony-shouldered boys
flaunt rusting rifles, self-consciously keen
to go on record as soldiers, salt of the earth.
The girl sits motionless. Dooryard debris
between her and her father. Lament
echoes on the soundtrack. White sky, no rain.
Her print shawl bares unblinking eyes, rain
seeps over eyelids-for the boy
dragged off, their mother lamenting
running and shot by three men, a keening
cry held in air - body shrouded in debris
filling a hole in the earth.
Grist for the media's mill, earth
powders the lens in imitation of rain.
A three-legged camera, hand-held Debrie,
once filmed a travelogue of men and boys
on horseback. Hooded women, keen-
eyed with curiosity, reveal no lament.
This filmmaker is a woman who laments
how impotence seeds her native earth.
Her lens zooms over fields, her keen
sight reaps opium bloom of absent rain.
She climbs a mountain dressed as a boy
stumbles over abandoned debris
on smugglers' routes, wades stream debris
frostbitten, night blind, no time for lament,
driven to rescue that girl, that boy
whose eyes engrave hollows in stone earth,
hold them alive after liberation's rain
of bombs, or visit their graves to keen.
Keen edged swords for boys, lament
for girls. Where will the earth rest?
Exploding debris rains upward.
(Finalist Winning Writers; published Fulcrum:
A Journal of Poetry & Poetics)
Praise for Rock Vein Sky:
"Charlotte Mandel's poems present close observation in moments of illuminating insight, poems as much felt as imagined, organic, "given" in the best sense. They are a welcome gift."
-- Sam Hamill
About the author:
Charlotte Mandel's seven books of poetry include Sight Lines (Midmarch Arts Press) and two poem-novellas of feminist biblical revision--The Life of Mary (foreword by Sandra M. Gilbert), and The Marriages of Jacob. Her poetry, short fiction and critical essays have appeared in Nimrod, Fulcrum, Women's Studies, Prairie Schooner, among many others. She coordinated the Eileen W. Barnes Award Series of first books by women poets over 40, and edited the 1982 anthology, Saturday's Women (co edited Maxine Silverman and Rachel Hadas). As an independent scholar, she has published a series of articles on the role of cinema in the life and work of poet H.D., and studies of May Sarton. She teaches "Translating Silences," a poetry writing course, with study of contemporary poets, at Barnard College Center for Research on Women.
Read/listen to more poetry on-line:
qarrtsiluni (2 poems, with audio)
New Jersey Poets (5 poems)
Poemeleon (2 poems)
Mezzo Cammin (2 poems)
ISBN 978-1-877675-62-1; 70 pages; paper; $15.00
Midmarch Arts Press, July 2008
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Midmarch Arts: www.midmarchartspress.org
MIDMARCH ARTS PRESS
300 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10025-5279