Address (Wesleyan Poetry Series) by Elizabeth Willis

By Elizabeth Willis

Deal with attracts us into obvious and invisible architectures, into acts of intimate and public tackle. those poems are targeted, polyvocal, and sharply responsive to acts of illustration; they take in my opinion their politics and within the technique demonstrate whatever concerning the method civic buildings inhabit the mind's eye. toxic crops, witches, anthems, bees?beneath their floor, we glimpse the fragility of our founding, republican aspirations and witness a disintegrating panorama artfully remodeled. If a poem can function a type of astrolabe, measuring distances either cosmic and rapid, temporal and actual, it does so by way of resourceful, nonlinear ability. right here, earlier and current interact in acts of mutual interrogation and critique, and inside of this dynamic Willis's poetry is immediately complexly authoritative and looking: "so starts our legislation."

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Sample text

Speech is half full and worth repeating even if you can’t see it, even if you don’t know why it’s half full. It’s the better half, of being alone that is. How happy are the sirens in my little town! Beyond them spring is at work making the fields and the cotton pops out without a sound, slightly to the left of predicted blooms. It is an old joke and a very good one but the one about the sun is even better, someday I will know all of it and the yellow curtain will go through me as promised, we will hear as if for the first time the sound of light on water, the traªc of ghosts, we will not die so much as let 48 the ground rise up to meet us and the hearing, the seeing, the shore swinging in to view all lit by flowers, the water tightened by their presence and far o¤ the threat of autumn, boat-shaped and full of red leaves.

I say to these objections that they aren’t worth the breath on which they’re printed, that you are Benjamin Franklin, sea-throated, coral-lung’d . . or at least as prodigious and electric an inventor, 29 that your vicinity is happily drowned in sealight, and that your voice does not, like spittle, disappear. Let us say instead of your liquid tone that it tosses. Let us take what you dub its disappearance and say instead that it should pass like a wave and repeat. 30 Palinode We will have to unseal the jar if we are to know what is not in there.

46 Constantly So Near I thought the thinking of going to sleep thrown on like a coverlet of flame which urges the body beneath it to a sultry kind of ownerlessness in which the famous obedience of limbs submits like the non-public aspect of flame to being only the yellow ash of some almost glimpsed but yielded thing in a space not quite lashed by experience but still lent to the losing of it or a just-missed train whose passage hangs about the station in a great veil of dust refusing to speak of any children only looming now fast now slow as windows or the holes in the lace of the new mourners while the tracks are not rising up to meet it.

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