Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Entering Vermont Winter: Poets Carol Frost and John Haines, at Vt. Studio Center

Lyrical, image-rich, penetrating: the poetry of Carol Frost and that of John Haines share these aspects, although the poets couldn't be much more different. Frost has been both professor and poetry editor for years; her latest book, The Queen's Desertion (2006), is her tenth. Yet she's not much older than Haines was when his first collection emerged in 1966 after years of isolated homesteading in Alaska -- at age 42. Each is scheduled to read at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, in February: Frost on Feb. 12, and Haines on Feb. 26, both at 8 p.m. Here's one from Frost's new collection:

To Fishermen

No more savage art: filleting: a deft pressure along the backbone
from tail fan to the red gills: fighting mystery with a honed blade
through the small bones: salt and scales on face and hands:: the Greek god,
as well, found flesh unmysterious, but in anger and disappointment: —
seagull cries, your music, are all about you: Apollonian but hungrier: nature is hungry::
the brave fish dies the birds swoop for the insides in no lovelier spirals.

And here's one from the collected poems of Haines, titled The Owl in the Mask of the Dreamer (1993):

If the Owl Calls Again

at dusk
from the island in the river,
and it's not too cold,

I'll wait for the moon
to rise,
then take wing and glide
to meet him.

We will not speak,
but hooded against the frost
soar above
the alder flats, searching
with tawny eyes.

And then we'll sit
in the shadowy spruce
and pick the bones
of careless mice,

while the long moon drifts
toward Asia
and the river mutters
in its icy bed.

And when the morning climbs
the limbs
we'll part without a sound,

fulfilled, floating
homeward as
the cold world awakens.

If you plan to attend either reading, call the Studio Center that day to confirm that the poet has indeed arrived (it's winter here; things change) and to reserve your seat: 802-635-2727.

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