Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What I'm Re-reading: fabulae

A few weeks ago, I joined goodreads and cataloged all my books. As I was going through my poetry books, I pulled a half a dozen off the shelf that begged for me to look at them again. I'm down to my last one this morning and realized that some of these were read pre-blogging, and I didn't get a chance to write about them then.

Joy Katz' book fabulae was crucial to me in grad school. In fact, rereading it today, I see her influence in several of the poems that eventually appeared in Blood Almanac.

Here is the first poem from the book. It thrills me every time.

Women Must Put Off Their Rich Apparel

Women must put off their rich apparel;
at midday they must disrobe.

Apart from men are the folds of sleep,
daylight's frank remarks: the skin

of the eye, softening, softening.
Women must put on plainness,

the sweet set of the mouth's line;
the body must surface, the light,

the muscled indifference of deer.
A woman must let love recede,

the carved out ribs sleep,
the vessel marked in bird lines

empty as the sea empties her.
Say the sea, sound of leaves, the old

devotion, the call and response.
Reeds, caves, shoulders of cypress,

the woman who at this moment
does not need the world.

Joy Katz
Southern Illinois University Press, 2002

PS: Just realizing how many of the books on my shelf that I really admire are from SIU Press.

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