Light shone more persistently through trees made unfamiliar by the devastation to their branches.
by Ching-In Chen Elgin I write this at a desk a ten minute drive away from the house we vacated in 48 hours when our landlord (in Norway? In Pakistan? In Netherlands?) lost her house in a foreclosure. Yesterday, we drove back, curious to check on the house after Hurricane Harvey receded, and saw the closed fence, the overfull trash, the height of that grass. We wanted to see if the house was still standing, still holding space, still breathing ghosts. * The night before we arrive to transplant into our rented house, a ladder walks off missing, two snug air conditioners. The heat decides for us that we will eat cold today. We walk through the back door, past the bare walls, say hello to a discarded bike with flat tires, to the open door of a molding freezer. Small curios live in the house—a trail of cloth elephants, a dream of fabric, the stretch of a wood table. Remnants from other bodies, some wildlife still scurrying under the countertops, still eating against the …
Who do you understand yourself to be now that you live there?
Essays and poems by Shamala Gallagher, Kimberly Alidio, Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, Sarah Gambito, Tiana Nobile, and Ching-In Chen
Catherine Pond on first books from Essy Stone and Courtney Kampa
by Jennifer Elise Foerster | Guest Editor Jennifer: I remember when we read together at Poets House in New York. In your craft talk, which you titled, “Becoming Visible,” you spoke of poetry as a “broad element at play” in your culture, and compared it to basket making. Here is that beautiful passage, which was recorded at Poets House on March 23, 2013: We are still known for our basket making. They are woven mostly from cedar bark, and within their bold, precise patterning, we often pay homage to the plants and animals of the Puget Sound. The bark goes through several stages of soaking and drying in order to become pliable. It’s hard to think of a process that could ever rejoin you closer to the earth. When people ask me that horrifying and somewhat common question—what is your poetry about?—I now think of the baskets, how they are about the material, and how the purity of the process imbues them with spirit. The poetry is also about its material—words—and the gaps that occur …
Poetry is the part / that no one sees