To end the year we’re featuring W.S. Di Piero’s “Raven,” which appears in the current issue of Poetry Northwest. “Years ago I read the opening phrase in a field guide’s description of a raven,” says Di Piero, ” and it stuck with me: ‘Big black bird.’ I see ravens out my window every day and appreciate their don’t-mess-with-me posture and gliding maneuvers. (Crows don’t glide.) Apparent monochromatic blackness with endless flashing inflections — that’s one definition of good style. They have no songfulness, just a marvelous variety of noises and calls, which recommends them to poetry but not to pretty poetry. “Most of my books contain a poem about a bird, none from a birdbrain’s consciousness, though: they all in some way are about hunger, appetite, or aspiration that sounds like fury.” Raven Ratso pigeons strictly for the birds. Morning vocalizing to settle one’s nerves. Practice makes perfect. Hello high wire art, and come back O red-tail youth. Upstart. Hair bulbs down there. Feed and need. Sunshine so justified upon my wings and I sing …
This month we’re featuring Maryland’s Jehanne Dubrow, whose poem “Discussing Milosz,” appears in the Fall-Winter 2008-09 v3.n2 issue of Poetry Northwest, the sixth issue in the new series. “I have tried teaching Czeław Miłosz’s ‘Encounter’ several times,” says Dubrow, “but never with much luck. ‘Encounter’ is a small poem that travels great distances. Too often, I’ve ended up explaining Miłosz’s use of narrative, when I would have preferred that my students make their own discoveries about the text. Our favorite poems can be the hardest to teach; it’s painful to watch as students manhandle delicate lines, overlooking the most important words.
For September we’re doing two things by featuring poet Linda Bierds: continuing our series on Northwest poets and giving you a glimpse of the Fall-Winter 2008-09 v3.n2 issue, our sixth. Of “Fragments from Venice: Albrecht Durer” Bierds writes, “lately, I’ve been drawn to poems structured by the interaction of two voices, particularly to poems in which the voices are out of sync, the responses only obliquely related to the calls. I love the friction that misalliance creates, its puzzles and ultimate responsibilities.”
W.S. Di Piero fears ratso pigeons David Guterson climbs a mountain pass Rebecca Starks splits the difference above the shrug of clouds Linda Bierds shreds the fragments of Venice Plus: Robert Lowell & Elizabeth Bishop conspire about Seattle And: New poems by Garrett Hongo, David Ciminello, Joanna Klink, P.K. Page, & J.T. Barbarese