Saturday, October 27, 2007

What the Fall Hath Brought

Who says there's no foliage in New Jersey this year? It's true that our usual profusion of colors is somewhat diminished due to our dry summer which caused many trees to shed their leaves early—Goldengrove unleaving. But then we also have the occasional spot of beauty as pictured here.

I received a lovely surprise yesterday—a video of Alex Grant reading at the 2007 Oscar Arnold Young Award program. Alex won first prize for the best book by a North Carolina poet for his chapbook, Chains & Mirrors. This same collection also received the 2006 Randal Jarrell Poetry Prize. The collection is beautifully reviewed in the current issue of The Pedestal Magazine.

Chains & Mirrors is available online at Main Street Rag Bookstore.

Here's one of several ekphrastic poems from the collection:

The Steps of Montmartre

after Brassai's 1936 photograph

On the steps of Sacre Coeur
Cathedral, in that same winter
when junge leute filled Bavarian

beer-gardens, ten years before
Adorno proclaimed that there
could be no art after Auschwitz,

Brassai captured his flawless
image. Through the tunnel
formed by the parting trees,

battalions of lamp-posts advance
and retreat in the morning mizzle,
clamp chain-link handrails hard

into sunwashed cobbles. In less
than a year, the corpseless heads
on Nanking's walls will coalesce

with Guernica's ruined heart, mal
du si├Ęcle will become Weltschmerz,
and the irresistible symmetry

of a million clacking bootheels
will deafen half a continent.
The red brush never dries --

adagio leads finally to fugue,
haiku to satori, and the image
fixed in silver to remembering.

This poem also appeared in the ekphrastic issue of Poemeleon. In addition, because of editor Cati Porter's nomination, it also appears in Meridian's Best New Poets Anthology.

And now the video:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Diane --

    I had the pleasure of publishing The Steps of Montmarte in the ekphrastic issue of Poemeleon. In addition, because of our nomination it appears in Meridian's Best New Poets Anthology.

    Great to see it again here! I'll have to go read the Pedestal's review. My review of Chains & Mirrors is forthcoming in the next issue of Poetry Southeast!


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