All posts tagged: islands

Rochelle Hurt: “Bright star of disaster”

Yearling Lo Kwa Mei-en Alice James Books, 2015 Lo Kwa Mei-en’s debut collection of poems reads like a manual for self-destruction. There are a variety of personal and global apocalypses in Yearling, and most of them are rooted in what Freud might have described as a death drive. The book’s epigraph from Dickinson, suggests, however, that these apocalypses should not be read simply as endings, nor should this drive toward death be read as a form of despair. The epigraph reads: “The World is not Conclusion. / A Species stands beyond—”. In this world, catastrophe is a means of becoming a species beyond. Consider, for example, “Arrow,” a poem that positions the speaker as both predator and prey. Aptly, the poem strikes a tonal balance between divulgence and declaration, beginning: “Drawn, uninvited, I’m an animal with a price on her head, / wrecking a bed of wet pine: I steal through the field twice.” The hunted is also the criminal here. Audacious in her trespassing, she is both vulnerable and cheeky. She implores her addressee: “as …

David Biespiel: “To Plumly from Lummi Island”

Stanley Plumly has been a mentor and friend of mine since 1988 when I took his Form and Theory class at the University of Maryland. Lummi Island is the most northeasterly of the San Juan archipelago. Located near Bellingham, Washington, it is served by a small ferry that makes the six minute crossing about once an hour. It is just two hours from Seattle, and one and a half hours from Vancouver, BC. The Lummi Nation are a tribe of the Coast Salish. The tribe primarily resides on and around the Lummi Indian Reservation. The Lummi were forcibly moved to reservation lands after the signing of the Point Elliott Treaty in 1855.

Carol Light: “Postcards from Ponza, The Prison Island”

To celebrate the passage of the winter solstice, we asked poet Carol Light to brighten our days with postcards from sunny places. Here’s what she she sent us, from a hotspot off the Italian coast… “Ponza is one of the islands of the Italian Pontine archipelago, near Cape Circeo, in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The island may have been the haunt of Homer’s infamous sorceress, Circe. Inhabited since Etruscan times, the island served as a place of exile for Romans plotting against emperors, as a penal colony, and as a dazzling vacation spot for celebrities, including Gina Lollobrigida. While visiting Ponza, I became fascinated by the idea of prisons, especially the idiosyncratic prison that contains the self, no matter where one is lucky enough to be. The poem began as a series of postcards written in blank verse.” Postcards from Ponza, the Prison Island   1. My panoramic lens apprehends a hammock slung between two lemon trees. Beyond the terracotta potted palms, grapes cluster, plump slubs twisting through the vineyard’s unwound skeins. Damp towels flap in …