Grace Cavalieri's February 2019 Exemplars of Poetry
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)
Read the full February 2019 round-up HERE on the WIRoB site
Indie Publishers Featured this month: Four Way Books ; Terrapin Books ; Kurodahan Press ; Conestoga Zen Press ; Mountains & Rivers Press (sadly The Geography of Jazz by Leonard D. Moore will be their last book) ; Baobab Press ; Ecco*
Here is an excerpt from Grace's review of Gary J. Whitehead's new collection from Terrapin Books, Strange What Rises :
“where does the hermit sing /when the seething ends/and the frosts begin?” (Rough Terrain). Whitehead writes 94 pages of poetry, not one syllable out of sync. This poetry is acoustically perfect and intellectually honest — two things seldom found together. He reveals — by way of location, sound, and visuals — an arc within each story where we learn what is beautiful. I would encourage students of poetry to read this book for its foundationality in what poetry can be. This poet can be a motivator for writers.
So cold we made bonfires on the ice,
the hair beneath our caps as gray as the day,
which was as gray as the ice but streaming
low-slung light. Some of us in skates
that wrote the hours we moved through,
a score for two pianos or the pendent branches
that shook their glass chimes when the northerlies blew.
The lake, too, with its boom and whistle,
its lightening cracks we chased to the shrinking edge
where the water rocked dark against the shore.
More light! Why should one brief day
typify a life? Looking back, I remember
looking back. At the eyes of our fires blinking.
At the sun sinking into bare, black trees.
More From Grace Cavalieri
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.
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.