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.
Go to http://www.yourdailypoem.com/, managed with finesse by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who says, "Our intent is to make visitors to Your Daily Poem aware of the joy and diversity of poetry."
Friday, June 26, 2009
DEBRA KAUFMAN: Moon Mirror Whiskey Wind
Moon Mirror Whiskey Wind by Debra Kaufman. Publisher: Pudding House Publications (ISBN 1-58998-770-5) Price $10. S&H $2.50 for first copy; $1 for each additional two. To order: go to www.puddinghouse.com and scroll down to “order form” on the left side bar. You can print the form and send it with your check or credit card information to Pudding House Publications, 81 Shadymere Lane, Columbus, OH 43213. Or (faster and easier): telephone PHP at (614) 986-1881 and leave a message with author name, book title, number of copies, your Visa or MasterCard number w/expiration date, and your mailing address and phone number.
Moon Mirror Whiskey Wind, Debra Kaufman's fourth collection of poems, obliquely tracks the life of a lonely girl steeped in fairy tales who tries to escape her small town's mores and create a new life. Poet and playwright Debra Kaufman is the author of Family of Strangers (Nightshade), Still LifeBurning (South Carolina Poetry Society), A Certain Light (Emrys), and Moon Mirror Whiskey Wind (Pudding House). Her poems have appeared in many poetry anthologies and literary magazines, including Pembroke, Room of One’s Own, Virginia Quarterly Review, Greensboro Review, and Carolina Quarterly. Her plays have been performed throughout North Carolina and in California. She is working on a new collection of poetry and a full-length play, The Fairest. Debra grew up in several small towns in the Midwest. She moved to Durham, North Carolina, with her family in 1981 and has lived in Mebane for twenty years.
Destiny and Johnny
She was a reader of fashion magazines. He was a leader of reckless young men. Impossible her name should be Destiny. He was called Johnny, forever. Her mother said, marry, him, why not, a wedding, a home, sure, that’s life. Her father said neither one thing nor another. She draped herself in layers of scarves, followed the make-up tips of stars. The mirror, her friend, suggested one day you could be one of them. Johnny wanted only her body, which she gave as a blessing, while saving her true self for the future, which stretched beyond this hick state of corn and beans, corn and beans and the smell of shit and terror and rage that blew in from the hog farms south of town. To board a bus in Des Moines and head— where? All she needed was a godmother who would say, First thing, kid, go, and go now; second, know it will be hard; third, I have a friend in the city who can help you.
To a Barbie
She dresses you in evening gowns, pushes shoes onto your achingly arched feet, bends you at the waist and forces you into Ken’s car, Ken’s boat, Ken always whisking you away. She moves your arms: wave hello, better wear your windbreaker. How tiring to have a pink smile painted on over a smear of white teeth, your eyes, the blue of a chlorine pool, always open. Would you be happier alone in the kitchen with your miniature stove and tiny, unbreakable cups? Mmm, this coffee sure tastes good, she says for you, then strips you again, rakes the comb through your coarse, bleached hair, then drops you in hot sand under a killer sun; grit gets in your cracks while she eats an ice cream cone. Naked, you wait—pert, expectant— fated never to be loved for yourself, but only as the plaything of this moody little girl now coming at you with scissors in her hand.
The Princess with the Brass Heart
The ill winds of March blew in catbirds and starlings; the damp drummed up dozens of mice. She’d find them, heads bitten off, in the grass and felt as little pity as the cats that did the deeds. Something scratchy in her voice now. She painted her toenails the dull red of dried blood and started eating meat again. Television, solitaire, all the same to her tarnished heart, dull eyes. Her borzoi shadowed her, head down, rib-thin. Three times she turned away the slight suitor who might save her, then slipped into the mirror where the dark queen reigns.
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.