Featured Poetry: "Toytown" by Grace Cavalieri
The name of Grace Cavalieri's legacy book, Other Voices, Other Lives, is not only a poetic turn, but a statement of intent. In her Legacy Book there are several sections in 3rd person omnipotent which aim to breathe the same air as famous women who have suffered adversity. Tragic figure Anna Nicole Smith, feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft, Cora from William Carlos William's Kora in Hell. All in all they are an admix of Grace Cavalieri's poetic life, brought together in one beautiful volume; so, perhaps, we might figure that Anna Nicole Smith converses with Mary Wollstonecraft for the very first time in the pages of Other Voices, Other Lives.
Today, from the Anna section we have the heart-rending "Toytown"
Event Update: Catch Grace Cavalieri at this years National Press Club Book Fair NOV, 2nd! #NPCBookFair
At the edge of thought, a frozen pond melted.
The Guy in armor had taken it all off, and was
sitting on the floor sobbing.
Anna never saw such a thing. She should run...
tell him she was expected somewhere...or...
someone was waiting...she needed to be alone...
This strapping brute of a man had suddenly
become a minute creature, shaking with shame.
Anna knew she needed imagination for this one,
but trained otherwise from birth,
never had a chance.
She tried to look serious. She tried to look
dignified, but the naked man on the floor
reduced her to simplicity.
Could she name the problem?
Name her darkness?
The side of her sleeve was offered to his running nose.
Her field of vision blurred.
He told her this was his first day on the job
and he couldn't go through with it.
He was a PhD student working his way through anthropology.
She bent down and took his head and arms.
Now what would she do with her unused understanding.
There, under the bed, she saw her other satin slipper.
Somehow she knew it would fit.
More From Grace Cavalieri
Every month for the Washington Independent Review of Books, the amazing Maryland Poet Grace Cavalieri, author of Other Voices, Other Lives, does a round-up style review of the best recently released independent books of poetry and books about poetry…
Other Voices, Other Lives was my introduction to Grace. Her book sits now on my shelf between The Waves and Duino Elegies, the pages are worn from thumbing-thru, it is dog-eared, destroyed in certain ways well-loved books are destroyed, aged by the eyes, like good denim, but here the creases are black underlines, and the fading is from yellow highlighter and coffee stains. So in honor of, well, my deep admiration for Grace, I’ve picked one of her poems from Other Voices, Other Lives to share. If this is the first encounter with her poetry, welcome, hello, the books page is just yonder up the screen under “books”! If you’ve long been a fan, I think “Bluebirds” is a great poem to share with those who might not yet have been introduced to Grace’s work.
Grace Cavalieri is known widely for her stirring and empathic poetry, collected in her Legacy work Other Voices, Other Lives, but did you know that she is also an impressive interviewer? On her NPR show, The Poet and The Poem, she interviews significant poets from the US and around the world, with an aim of interpreting their lives through their poetry. In her tenure on the program, she has interviewed 9 US Poets Laureate (you can find a list with these archived interviews HERE), including the incomparable Robert Pinsky.
The name Other Voices, Other Lives, is not purely poetical, in fact, for Grace Cavalieri it is a mission statement. In her Legacy Book of the same name there are several sections in 3rd person omnipotent which aim to breathe the same air as famous women who have suffered adversity. Tragic figure Anna Nicole Smith, feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft, Cora from William Carlos William’s Kora in Hell. All in all they are an admix of Grace Cavalieri’s poetic life, all brought together in one beautiful volume; so, perhaps, we might figure that Anna Nicole Smith converses with Mary Wollstonecraft for the very first time in the pages of Other Voices, Other Lives.
Today, from the Anna section we have the heart-rending “Toytown”
First Indian Poet to Record Poems for The Library of Congress to be interviewed by Grace Cavalieri for “The Poet and the Poem” Abhay K. is set to be the first Indian National to record poems for the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The SAARC award winner is known as the premier literary flag-bearer […]
The Poet and The Poem is an hour long poetry program hosted by poet and playwright, Grace Cavalieri. Grace started the program in 1977 and it has been going strong since. On “The Poet and the Poem” Grace examines just that, the poetry and the poet. Each interview is a mix of questions pertaining to […]
Grace Cavalieri reads “Safety” “The poet Grace Cavalieri is a…truly generous friend of poetry and poets. In her writing and all she does her large-minded generosity shines.” Robert Pinsky In the folds and on the back cover of Other Voices, Other Lives, sits a few very special drawings —a rose, the dome of the capital building— […]
An Interview with Grace Cavalieri Senior Editor of December Literary Magazine, Ron A. Austin, sat down with Grace Cavalieri for an exciting and rapid fire (if, sadly, slim) look at the author behind Other Voices, Other Lives, the second installment in ASP’s Legacy Series. Read the whole interview here An Excerpt: DECEMBER How do your personal experiences […]
Grace Cavalieri Reads, “Work is My Secret Lover” The poet Grace Cavalieri is a truly generous friend of poetry and poets. In her writing and all she does her large-minded generosity shines. Robert Pinsky Grace Cavalieri reads poetry just as though she were speaking then with Pinsky, Dove, or Solari, and she speaks just like she […]
Grace Cavalieri on Fred Rogers Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a new documentary focusing on the life and career of everyone’s favorite friend and TV personality, Fred Rogers, AKA Mr. Rogers. For an op-ed about the still rippling cultural impact of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood which ran for over 40 years, Kathi Wolfe turned to Grace Cavalieri who […]