14 - The Question of Rapture by Claire Keyes Sept 10, 2008 23:45:48 GMT 2
Post by shayepoet on Sept 10, 2008 23:45:48 GMT 2
The Question of Rapture
"If the mind insists on imagining its origins, then it
comes/ to this wintry beach . . ." Claire Keyes writes, and then richly
imagines other worlds, this poet of woods and street, ravens and childhood,
Boston and Key West and Greece, graveyards and myth, love and pain, cricket
and eagle and thrush. The insight and range of these poems inspire and
darken and almost soothe. That almost means a beauty that burns."
Nauset Beach, October
How admirable the waters looked,
waves surging in, collapsing on shore
and the two of us strolling by.
It’s summer no more though the air is warm,
the sky blue. My lover adores the surge
beneath him, so he strips to his trunks
and flings himself into the surf. How blue
his skin turned and how he shivered
in my arms as I tried to warm him, drawing
my jacket around him. No lips ever seemed
so blue. Passersby on the sand paused
and clucked, noting my fine hands
stroking his shoulders. It’s not every day
I’m the madonna, the man on my knees
shivering and blue. After this, I loved him less
and tried to pretend I loved him more.
A man so mad for the ocean might throw himself
into anything and then how much comfort
would I be expected to give? Yet
he was once my blue ocean. I threw myself
into his surge. Blue is the color of chagrin.
Once I held a man unclothed and shivering
on my knees. The sky was blue and Nauset Beach
felt as solid under our foot soles
as the love we wrapped our legs around each night,
so drunk with ourselves that we never noticed
the time like a fine blue wave lifting its head
to see how much longer to shore.
Praise for The Question of Rapture:
"Claire Keyes' poems really speak to me. They are about clean clothes on a wash line, a white shoe washed on a beach, the cliffs of Moher, winter in Boston, hibiscus in Florida. They also send notes from the country of childhood: roller skating on cracked sidewalks, hopscotch, hide and seek. Keyes is a writer clearly in love with the world, and her poems bring us all along on a journey of discovery, in language as clean and musical as the wood thrush's song."
"Poems of witness to the details, "the sweetness contained in ordinary things, the poignancy of their loss'--The Question of Rapture is an homage to the legacy of Elizabeth Bishop. With her clear eye and insistence on imagistic language, Keyes renders family history, the landscape of the Massachusetts coastline, the experience of love and loss, and yes, rapture as stones thrown into the center of a pond, their "rings widening and reaching back to shore." Always reaching back, her poems teach us to look, then look again."
"Imagistic language and unique imagination shape this stunning book. These musical, detailed poems capture the intricacies of Keyes' worlds: her family, childhood, Boston, Key West and even Greece. Travel along with her and witness the beauty of the Massachusetts landscape, ramble about graveyards, roller skate down the sidewalk, all the while listening to the song of the crickets and thrush. As Barbara Crooker notes "Keyes is a writer clearly in love with the world" and that admiration shines brightly through the pages of this collection."
--from the Publisher
About the author:
Claire Keyes grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, the seventh child in an
Irish-Catholic family of eight. Parochial schools led to Boston State
College, Boston College (M.A.) and the University of Massachusetts (Ph. D.)
Professor Emerita at Salem State College, where she taught English for 30
years, she is the author of The Aesthetics of Power: The Poetry of Adrienne
Rich., University of Georgia Press. Her poems and reviews have appeared in
such journals as Valparaiso Review, Calyx, Blueline, and The Women's Review
of Books, as well as in several anthologies, including Letters to the World:
Poems from the Wom-Po Listserv and Poems of Exotic Places. She is a
recipient of a grant in poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and a
fellowship from the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. Her chapbook,
Rising and Falling, won the Foothills Poetry Competition. She lives in
Marblehead, Massachusetts with her husband, Jay Moore.
ISBN 978-0932412-690, 66 pages, $14.95
Mayapple Press, 2008
Paper, perfect bound
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Mayapple Press: www.mayapplepress.com
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