Thursday, March 22, 2012

Poem: Dawn Lundy Martin

null previewSurprise and other states of reaction and joyous feeling (and a little bit of guilt) accompanied my scanning the just announced Lambda Literary Award nominations in lesbian poetry collections for 2011.


There were five nominations. Five women poets. I knew of all of them but, hence my surprise and various accompanying feelings, I haven't ye't read one of the five nominated collections. I hope to rectify that omission and soon.  In the meantime I am going to post a poem by each of the five in separate blog postings. (I'm not sure what I'm going to do in the case of Julie Enzer whose book was nominated, yes, but it is an anthology. I believe this is known as a luxury problem.)

In the meantime, here is a poem by Dawn Lundy Martin, whose collection Discipline (Nightboat Books), is among the five.  "Religion Song" is not from Discipline, but from Martin's chapbook, The Morning Hour.

Religion Song

Backward, our peculiar language.
Mama says, your life are your hands.

Count them
.                 Spoken and leans
back into herself       a lone blade

amongst a field.        Each grass a palm

A straw hat on the old woman
who stands                 back to lone house

not smiling.               A rake in her hands
Two coconut palm trees--

She would draw concentric circles in sand . . .

What yields in darkness?

A point of surrender.

The still music of captivity.

All the civility of work.

* * *
From The Morning Hour, which had selected by C. D. Wright for the PSA National Chapbook Fellowship competition.
From the Poetry Society of America website.

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