Thursday, January 7, 2010

Published Friend

Today I heard from my good friend Joanna Straughn who writes exquisite poetry. We have been friends for a decade and my intellectual and personal life has been greatly enriched by the association. My friend is a very talented poet and she's published her work in reputable journals. I have been a fan of her poetry from the time I was first exposed to it and my life in language is all the better because of it.

She informs me that two additional poems of hers were recently published. I was especially proud of her today as one of the published poems, "Rot", is something I loved right away when I first read it a while back. I remember feeling overpowered by it. Its rhythm evoked the kind of feeling and melancholy I would get when reading Paul Celan's poetry. What impressed me especially was the ending of the poem. It says:

"Have you seen the trees

Ripped up by the bare hands of children,

Beaten down by their shovels

The hour their fate was made plain? ”

There’s such delicate quality to this melancholy language that makes it especially powerful to me. It takes pure talent to find lyrical beauty in such precise and concise language. The kind of talent my friend has. In the other published poem, To Robert Desnos *, the last stanza says:

"He found them in the attainable arms of a woman

Whose alluring eyes alone brought him out

Of a stupor into the heartbeat of human company.

Every café is singing to the birds

Playing a caterwaul of clean intoxication.

The river flows under a bridge

To tell the couple they are alive and good.

Their simple fondness-- a single instance

Of the spirit of human flourishing

Worth defending through any bitter condition."

I highly recommend you read both of these poems. You may find them here. Also, Joanna's excellent book Instinct can be found here.

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JJ' said...

Beautiful precision, indeed. Thanks for the links.

Sra said...

I've always admired people who can write good poetry. Prose I can do, but verse evades me.

Anonymous said...

This is powerful stuff! A
I, too, have such respect for such poetic talents.

Unknown said...

I've always thought that poetry writing takes not only great skill and an astute sense of observation but also a great deal of courage.
Congratulations to her! Good stuff.