01 - Terrain by Julia Lisella May 16, 2008 20:10:57 GMT 2
Post by moira on May 16, 2008 20:10:57 GMT 2
Julia Lisella's Terrain is a book suffused with quiet rhythms: of birth and death, of pain and healing, of turbulence and calm. She maps a wide terrain indeed, and her haunting music touches both the ear and the heart.
there is no mother, Only terrain . . .
No, no, I am
not done with you yet,
you two who fled
or were expelled. The universe
holds you without
my permission. I don't know
if you can walk yet. Or have
words, or have seen earth's diseases,
its ravage, its surly mountains,
its iced caverns, its desert lengths
where children are less alive than you two,
or if you've felt
more than your brother and sister
living on this side,
mothered, fathered with exacting attention
they can't escape.
They don't know you, and I,
only the limits of your power surface.
I called out to hold on, stay put
but to you such pleas mean nothing.
Oceans are your home
fog and cloud your natural blankets,
stars, dead stones shining
to light your crazy journey
along with the others, the peopled fields
collapsing out of my comprehension.
Children die, every day. You must
know them, too, now. How do they fare?
What is your death like? Why do you
come to me, resting and working
your limbs into such deep ties?
There is no mother here,
only the surface of your father's skin
on mine. Only desire
for this strange permission
that comes from, what?
to husband the deep-seated eggs inside the flesh
into a racing pool of live fish, sweet and delicious?
Did you take provisions when you left me? A sample
of skin, a small tin of blood and milk?
Did you remember to forget the sloping brim
of what held you, clasped you,
still young enough to swim freely
but old enough to leave
your mark here? Did you
leave anything behind,
a gift for your youngest brother?
Is that why he emerged amazed and startled
and would not look at me, but at the light
above my head? Did he mistake it
for the stories of the stars you left him?
Is he glad he did not follow your fishy trail
to the middle ocean, clean, bright with the life
of whale and shark?
Reviews for Terrain:
"'We go like soldiers to the ordeal/of happiness,' Julia Lisella writes in her brilliant new book Terrain. Lisella explores intimacy, but there's no predictable domesticity in her vision. Though the poems are crystalline, the work opens outward, into complexity, the contingency of history, and a beautifully tempered wildness. These poems are deeply felt, deeply imagined, and burnished by a dazzling poetic integrity."
-- D. Nurkse
"Julia Lisella's poems go to that deepest place in us--the place where we confront ourselves as parents, as children, as spouses--as thinking and feeling beings in relation with others. The poems consider life with neither sentiment nor terror, but rather with a calm and intent reflectiveness. Her clear-eyed and moving meditations on the complexities of love and of identity acknowledge 'that there's a clangy, demonstrable unholiness/to everything we long for.'"
-- Cammy Thomas, author of Cathedral of Wish
About the author:
Julia Lisella is the author of a chapbook, Love Song Hiroshima (Finishing Line Press, 2004) in addition to Terrain. She holds an M.A. in creative writing from New York University and a Ph.D. from Tufts University. Her poems appear in such journals as Prairie Schooner, Pleiades, Literary Mama, and Paterson Literary Review and have been widely anthologized. She has taught poetry through grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and has held residencies at the MacDowell, Millay, and Dorset colonies for the arts. She is also a scholar of modernist women’s writing. Currently, she is assistant professor of American literature at Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts. You can learn more about her work at www.julialisella.com
ISBN: 978-1933456751, $17.00, 84 pages
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