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
Big news for Maryland’s Poet Laureate, Grace Cavalieri. The American Academy of poets announced on Wednesday that an appropriation of $1,050,000 (made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation) would be made available for thirteen of America’s most distinguished Poets Laureate including Grace herself…
Craving more Grace Cavalieri? Of course you are! Maryland’s newest Poet Laureate is active, about, and spreading the word; that is, her words. Even though Poet Laureate is largely an honorary position (it is unpaid, and one is “honored” more with a title than a job much like a knighthood or a medal of freedom), Grace Cavalieri seems determined to become the most active and community-focused Poet Laureate in Maryland’s history. Recently she was featured on Art Works the official podcast for the National Endowment for the Arts.
Grace Cavalieri stopped by WYPR last week for an interview on “Midday” with Tom Hall. The Poet Laureate and author of ASP’s Other Voices, Other Lives, mused on her life and work, meditating on the loss of her late husband, and reading from her deep poetry catalog. This interview is well worth the 40 minutes it takes to impart the important wisdom of one of Maryland’s foremost sages.
In 2000, the bicentennial of the Library of Congress, four Poets Laureate were appointed just for the occasion. The four dignitaries were W.S. Merwin, Robert Pinsky, Rita Dove, and Louise Gluck. I was to record one after the other for 4 hours. That first meeting with Merwin was unforgettable, as he arrived for an hour interview without so much as one poem in his hands. Fortunately, I had brought ten books for his signature and we puzzled our way through. He was delighted to recognize some of his first slim published volumes that were out of print, as well as a few collector’s items.
Every month for the Washington Independent Review of Books, the Maryland Poet Laureate, 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.
February 2019’s review features 8 books ranging from exciting newcomer, Sam Ross, to long-dead literary stalwart, Charles Bukowski (whose new collection, edited and compiled by Abel Debritto, is titles On Drinking)
The beloved Grace Cavalieri “contains multitudes” according to Mikaela Lefrak in her newest article from WAMU taking a look at the life and career of the 10th Poet Laureate. And Ms. Lefrak treats her subject with the due respect of a life which cannot be covered succinctly in 500 words. She delivers a reverent tourists’ view of Grace Cavalieri’s life, hitting the big things: her poetry and work ethic, the passing of her husband, Kenneth Flynn, her conversion to Buddhism, and finally her new tenure as Poet Laureate.
Grace Cavalieri’s recent stop at NPR’s The Kojo Nnamdi show is now streamable. Over a substantive 22 minutes, listen to Grace talk about poetry, inspiration, and her plans as the 10th Maryland Poet Laureate.
Recently Governor Larry Hogan announced that Grace Cavlieri, poet, playwright, and long time host of NPR’s The Poet and The Poem, would become Maryland’s next Poet Laureate, succeeding the great Stanley Plumly. Now that she has been inaugurated, one of her first stops is The Kojo Nnamdi show. Kojo Nnamdi has been hosting his show on WAMU for 20 years, so he and Grace are kindred spirits in that regard–Grace has hosted The Poet and The Poem for over 40 years.
Nin Andrews is a poet. Most recently of Miss August which is out now from the awesome Cavankerry Press and most notably of the collection, Why God is a Woman. Nin Andrews is also a fan of Grace Cavalieri’s interview with Jorie Graham which she recently extolled over on ITN.
Governor Hogan recently announced Maryland’s ninth Poet Laureate to be the incomparable Grace Cavalieri. In his press conference regarding the announcement he touched on her “lifelong” dedication to poetry, and this precisely is one of those defining characteristics of a great artist. ASP celebrated this aspect of Grace in her Legacy Book, Other Voices, Other Lives which is an atemporal sampling of her entire career to now, from poetry to prose, from plays to interviews with US Poets Laureate. It should come as no surprise to Mr. Hogan nor the careful reader of her works then that she has an almost religious dedication and inescapable fascination with her art and its many ingredients. As you we shall hear, in her poem “Work is my Secret Lover,” Poetry is the muse.