THIS BLOG IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL. PLEASE ENJOY WHAT IS HERE, AND DO LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU WISH. NORTH CAROLINA'S NEW POET LAUREATE IS CATHY SMITH BOWERS. SHE WILL SOON HAVE HER OWN WEBSITE THROUGH THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL SITE. I WILL BE SHIFTING MY ATTENTION TO HERE, WHERE I AM, (SEE SIDEBAR)USING IT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO WRITERS WHOSE WORK DESERVES ATTENTION. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT ME THERE. For a video of the installation ceremony, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xAk6fOzaNE.
Quirky, macabre, vivid, and spellbinding, Sarah Lindsay's Twigs and Knucklebones melds science and art with astonishing facts that just might be true: spadefoot toads singing until their throats bleed; an explorer tumbling into an Antarctic crevasse and swinging from his tether like a pendulum; a young girl playing a house like a trumpet. At the heart of the collection is an extended poem about the fictional kingdom of Nab, a place characterized by outlandish figures, including megalomaniac archaeologists, jerboas, goatherds, and the strange god Nummis.
Many of Lindsay's poems occur in extremis, and the situations are often severe and surreal with titles such as "Valhalla Burn Unit on the Moon Callisto" and subjects as odd as the discovery of a mummified bog person in a potato farmer's field. Her poems often span -- in the space of a few lines -- centuries, cultures, and contexts, as they open to new worlds and unveil new ways of seeing that are undeniably grounded in the present
In her latest collection of poems, Twigs and Knucklebones, Sarah Lindsay revels in the pleasure of being omniscient. Writer and reader alike enjoy the privilege of superhuman knowledge in poems that blur the line between the apocryphal and the real world. A spider crawls out from the ash in “Elegy from Quagga” as if to say, “Not yet”; however damaged, the world remains. (Erica Wright, Foreword Magazine)
Life on this planet persists in knitting its minerals into animal and vegetable variations, behaving at all times like the central point of the cosmos, and because it is water it seeks the paths of least resistance and pauses sometimes to admire itself, because it is earth it might subside in camouflage or darkness or cease to move for its own good reasons, because it is air it may seem like nothing yet be the invisible sustenance of oceans or forests or a shade of blue, and because it is fire it leaps and is uncertain and leaves smelly waste and goes everywhere it can uninvited. It presses its lips where boiling sulfur cracks the ocean floor, swims in acid cavities below the roots of mountains, burrows and flits and infects and strangles and hatches, constructs mats, reefs, trunks, tunnels, stained-glass windows and ad campaigns for raspberry-scented chinchilla dust. Mammalian bipeds especially intrude where they are unfit to go, chewing coca leaves to walk on ridges where oxygen falls away, training beasts to carry weight in the desert and drinking their blood, beating sea water back with little hands. On the southern ice cap, one turns his frozen socks inside out and shakes his blackened toes into his lap. In the country he comes from, earth is parched, air warped with the heat he longs for. Thirsty flies glue themselves to plants that begin to digest them; modest orchids bloom underground. In his country glinting saucers are filling with penicillin while soldiers don uniforms. There is singing. A shimmer over cannon mouths. Fire consumes. Mud consumes. Many stars since they were born have been sending their light to shine upon us, but some are rushing away as fast as they can.
(Red Moon, by KSB)
Starlings on the Line
One hundred European starlings released in Central Park discovered America, settled its apple trees and woodpecker nests, but the fifty or so let loose in California earlier, in the prosperous 1880s, failed to thrive. Too small a flock, perhaps, or too bewildered. What season was it? Time to hunt snails and spiders, or look for cherries, or hawthorn and holly? Too much newness-- scorpions and lemons. Ultramarines, infracrimsons, high-pitched shades of gold. The last four hunched in a row on a telegraph wire for a couple of days, then opened their wings and shrank into desert sky, trailing their new-learned songs: Dot dash dash dot dot dash dot dot Please come home Ma sick Sailing Tuesday next Need authorization Need contract Need your assurance Please send two hundred by mail by rail by August please explain please inform please remit please return please please please dot dot dash dot dot dot dot
(Small Green Moon, by KSB)
Three darknesses are my menagerie: The hole at the base of this stone wall, the shade lying deep in that thicket yonder, the earth hereabouts that a gray fox goes to.
The porcupine draws his needles out of the shade, sometimes, if I leave him salt; the fox shies out on her weightless feet, sometimes, if I clear the lawn and play music;
the badger I have not seen. The grass, between quick dances, accumulates my futile offerings: bits of roast beef, carrots, glowworms, marzipan.
I’ve brought out my easel and paints for another portrait of a stony opening, empty of the one I await while either pretending indifference
or bowing before where I think it is, the decisive beast, who will come to me someday, surely, if I stay ready always, the moment I am not ready.
Sarah Lindsay is the author of Primate Behavior, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Mount Clutter, as well as two chapbooks, Bodies of Water and Insomniac's Lullaby. Copper Canyon Press will publish her next collection, Twigs and Knucklebones, in fall 2008. A graduate of UNC-Greensboro's MFA program in creative writing, Lindsay learned to set type and bind books by hand at Unicorn Press in the 1980s. She makes her living as a copy editor in Greensboro. "Underground Orchids" and "Look Again" previously appeared in International Poetry Review; “Starlings on the Line" previously appeared in Orion; (The Morse code at the end of that poem spells out "please.")
I've lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina since 1968, though I'm a native of SW Georgia. My paternal grandmother was born in the Blue Ridge, and I grew up wanting to live here. Where I am.
I've published five collections of poetry, the most recent 4 being with LSU Press, and have published poetry in magazines ranging from The Atlantic Monthly to Appalachian Heritage. But I also hike, bang pots and pans around in my kitchen, and love several dogs who leave fur all over my carpets. I write poetry because it's my way of singing back to the world both within and without.