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Rebecca Elson: A Responsibility to Awe (Paperback, 2018, Carcanet Press, Limited) No rating

Rebecca Elson's A Responsibility to Awe reissued as a Carcanet Classic

A Responsibility to Awe …

Myth by Rebecca Elson

What I want is a mythology so huge That settling on its grassy bank (Which may at first seem ordinary) You catch sight of the frog, the stone, The dead minnow jewelled with flies, And remember all at once The things you had forgotten to imagine.

A Responsibility to Awe by 

Mary Oliver: Devotions (2020, Penguin Books) No rating

Throughout her celebrated career, Mary Oliver has touched countless readers with her brilliantly crafted verse, …

In Blackwater Woods by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees are turning their own bodies into pillars

of light, are giving off the rich fragrance of cinnamon and fulfillment,

the long tapers of cattails are bursting and floating away over the blue shoulders

of the ponds, and every pond, no matter what its name is, is

nameless now. Every year everything I have ever learned

in my lifetime leads back to this: the fires and the black river of loss whose other side

is salvation, whose meaning none of us will ever know. To live in this world

you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it

against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.

Devotions by  (Page 389 - 390)

Rebecca Elson: A Responsibility to Awe (Paperback, 2018, Carcanet Press, Limited) No rating

Rebecca Elson's A Responsibility to Awe reissued as a Carcanet Classic

A Responsibility to Awe …


Returning, like the Earth
To the same point in space,
We go softly to the comfort of destruction,

And consume in flames
A school of fish,
A pair of hens,
A mountain poplar with its moss.

A shiver of sparks sweeps round
The dark shoulder of the Earth,
Frisson of recognition,
Preparation for another voyage,

And our own gentle bubbles
Float curious and mute
Towards the black lake
Boiling with light,
Towards the sharp night
Whistling with sound.

A Responsibility to Awe by 

Ada Limón: The Carrying: Poems (2018, Milkweed Editions) 4 stars

"Vulnerable, tender, acute, these are serious poems, brave poems, exploring with honesty the ambiguous moment …

What I Didn't Know Before by Ada Limón

was how horses simply give birth to other horses. Not a baby by any means, not a creature of liminal spaces, but already a four-legged beast hellbent on walking, scrambling after the mother. A horse gives way to another horse and then suddenly there are two horses, just like that. That's how I loved you. You, off the long train from Red Bank carrying a coffee as big as your arm, a bag with two computers swinging in it unwieldily at your side. I remember we broke into laughter when we saw each other. What was between us wasn't a fragile thing to be coddled, cooed over. It came out fully formed, ready to run.

The Carrying: Poems by  (Page 71)

Natalie Diaz: Postcolonial Love Poem (Paperback, 2020, Graywolf Press) No rating

Postcolonial Love Poem is an anthem of desire against erasure. Natalie Diaz’s brilliant second collection …

The Cure for Melancholy Is to Take the Horn by Natalie Diaz

Powered unicorn horn was once thought to cure melancholy.

What carries the hurt is never the wound but the red garden sewn by the horn as it left—and she left. I am rosing, blossoming absence—a brilliant alarum.

Brodsky said, Darkness restores what light cannot repair. You thrilled me—torn to the comb. I want everything—the ebon bull and the moon. I come and again for the honeyed horn.

Queen Elizabeth traded a castle for a single horn. I serve the kingdom of my hands— an army of touch marching the alcázar of your thighs blaring and bright as any war horn.

I arrive at you—half bestia, half feast. Night after night we harvest the luxed Bosque de Caderas, reap the darkful fruit mulling our mouths, separate sweet from thron.

My lanternist. Your hands wick at the bronzed lamp of my breast. Strike me to spark— tremble me to awe. Into your lap let me lay my heavy horns.

I fulfilled the prophecy of your throat, loosed in you the fabulous wing of my mouth. Red holy-red ghost. Left my body and spoke to God, came back seraphimed—copper feathered and horned.

Our bodies are nothing if not places to be had by, as in, God, she had me by the throat, by the hip bone, by the moon. God, she hurt me with my own horns.

Postcolonial Love Poem by  (Page 77)

Les Murray: Learning Human (2001, Farrar, Straus and Giroux) No rating

A bighearted selection from the inimitable Australian poet's diverse ten-book body of work

Les Murray …

Migratory by Les Murray

I am the nest that comes and goes, I am the egg that isn't now, I am the beach, the food in sand, the shade with shells and the shade with sticks. I am the right feeling on washed shine, in wing-lifting surf, in running about beak-focused: the feeling of here, that stays and stays, then lengthens out over the hills of hills and the feedy sea. I am the wrongness of here, when it is true to fly along the feeling the length of its great rightness, while days burn from vast to a gold gill in the dark to vast again, for many feeds and floating rests, till the sun ahead becomes the sun behind, and half the little far days of the night are different. Right feelings of here arrive with me: I am the nests danced for and now, I am the crying heads to fill, I am the beach, the sand in food, the shade with sticks and the double kelp shade.

Learning Human by 

Naomi Shihab Nye: Tiny Journalist (2019, BOA Editions, Limited) No rating

Grandfathers Say by Naomi Shihab Nye

Grandfathers say the garden is deep, old roots twisted beyond our worry or reach. Maybe our grief began there, in the long history of human suffering, where rain goes when it soaks out of sight. Savory smoke from ancient fires still lingers. At night you can smell it in the stones of the walls. When you awaken, voices from inside your pillow still holding you close.

Tiny Journalist by  (Page 100)

Amanda Gorman: Call Us What We Carry (2021, Penguin Random House) No rating

Practice Makes People by Amanda Gorman

The making of plans, When this is over; The We can't wait, Really our knuckles rapping Against the future, sounding Out what lies beneath its hull. But tomorrow isn't revealed, Rather rendered, refined. Wrought. Remember that fate isn't fought Against. It is fought for. Again & again.

Maybe there is no fresh wisdom, Just old woes, New words to name them by & the will to act. We've seen life lurching back in stops & starts Like a wet-born thing learning to walk. The air charged & changed. Us, charged & changed. A yoked-out eternity For that needle to pierce our arm. At last: a pain we asked for. Yes, it is enough to be moved By what we might be.

Call Us What We Carry by 

Benjamin Zephaniah: Wicked World! (Paperback, Puffin Books) No rating

A cool and happening collection of poems from the inimitable Benjamin Zephaniah Welcome to the …

Sights and Sounds by Benjamin Zephaniah

There are More than Six thousand Different Languages Spoken On Earth.

There is No person On Earth Who can speak Them all.

Every person On Earth Could learn To speak Any language On Earth.

There are Some languages That are not Spoken.

Languages Like people Have family trees.

Languages Like people Are all precious.

Languages Like people Can disappear.

Languages are Like people

Respect your tongue.

Sign languages Are Crucial

Protect your hands.

Wicked World! by  (Page 68 - 69)

Juan Felipe Herrera: Half of the world in light (2008, University of Arizona Press) No rating

We Are All Saying the Same Thing by Juan Felipe Herrera after Szymborska

Yeti come down. The escape is over—the earthquake mixes the leaves into an exotic pattern.

You slide down the precipice & spit. You chew on a Tibetan prayer wheel.

This is our city with the bridge in flames, call it Desire. This is our mountain, hear its umber harness shiver, call it Time.

& this old woman beating a bluish rag with her shredded hands—call her now,

call her with your honey-like voices. She is the sky you were after, that immeasurable breath in every one of us.

We are all saying the same thing, Yeti. We lift our breast & speak of fire, then ice.

We press into our little knotted wombs, wonder about our ends, then, our beginnings.

Half of the world in light by  (Camino del sol) (Page 188)

Natasha Trethewey: Monument (2019, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company) No rating

My Father as Cartographer by Natasha Tretheway

In dim light now, his eyes straining to survey the territory: here is the country of Loss, its colony Grief; the great continent Desire and its borderland Regret;

vast, unfathomable water, an archipelago—the tiny islands of Joy, untethered, set adrift. At the bottom of the map his legend and cartouche, the measures of distance, key

to the symbols marking each known land. What's missing is the traveler's warning at the margins: a dragon— its serpentine signature—monstrous as a two-faced daughter.

Monument by  (Page 167)

quoted Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur: Milk and Honey (2014) No rating

Milk and Honey (stylized in all lowercase as "milk and honey") is an Indian-Canadian collection …

you tell me to quiet down cause my opinions make me less beautiful but i was not made with a fire in my belly so i could be put out i was not made with a lightness on my tongue so i could be easy to swallow i was made heavy half blade and half silk difficult to forget and not easy for the mind to follow

Milk and Honey by  (Page 30)

Joy Harjo: An American Sunrise (Paperback, 2019, W. W. Norton & Company) 5 stars

In the early 1800s, the Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their original lands east …

The Story Wheel by Joy Harjo

I leave you to your ceremony of grieving Which is also of celebration Given when an honored humbled one Leaves behind a trail of happiness In the dark of human tribulation. None of us is above the other In this story of forever. Though we follow that red road home, one behind another. There is a light breaking through the storm And it is buffalo hunting weather. There you can see your mother. She is busy as she was ever— She holds up a new jingle dress, for her youngest beloved daughter. And for her special son, a set of finely beaded gear. All for that welcome home dance, The most favorite of all— when everyone finds their way back together to dance, eat and celebrate. And tell story after story of how they fought and played in the story wheel and how no one was ever really lost at all.

An American Sunrise by  (Page 28)

Hannah Emerson: The Kissing of Kissing (Paperback, 2022, Milkweed Editions) No rating

In this remarkable debut, which marks the beginning of Multiverse--a literary series written and curated …

Fill Your Arms by Hannah Emerson

Please try only to go to the place that is just trying kissing us yearning to love this moment instead

of hating it yes. Please try to kiss this place that is probing our sweet soul that is trying to understand just what the hell is going on yes. Please

help kiss the process that is happening in this world now yes. Please fill your arms with the bear the heart the monkey the horse the kissing kissing kissing that they bring to us

today yes. Please try to help them get up to dance in ward to find the strength that will find great great great new wiring that is trying to become the nothing air that we breathe that is sweat we need to let out yes.

Please try to go to the sweat helping yourself go to the salt that will melt you yes. Please try to become the ocean that is becoming yes yes that is becoming lovely life yes yes. Please fill your arms trying to take in the nothing of everything yes yes.

The Kissing of Kissing by  (Page 48)