Thursday, April 21, 2005


Hey hey! Some good news! A prose poem of mine got accepted by The New Quarterly! It'll be in the upcoming Summer issue.

The nice thing is, this issue was guest edited by Robyn Sarah, a poet I very much admire. Over the last couple of years I've read three of her collections from cover to cover, Anyone Skating on that Middle Ground (an early collection), The Touchstone (New & Selected poems, 1992), and A Day's Grace (poems 1997-2002). Through them all she maintains a tremendous simplicity & concision of style so that however casual or conversational it seems, you really feel that you cannot remove (or for that matter, move) a single word or even punctuation mark without seriously violating the whole... many poets manage to achieve such economy with their language, but not many make you feel it as she does.

Of all the poems I've read of hers -- and many are memorable -- this one has had the perhaps most powerful impact on me. Since it's not on her website, I'll take the liberty of transcribing it here. (She publishes me, I publish her... fair deal, isn't it?) It's from her latest collection, A Day's Grace (2003). Anyone entering or in midst of middle age, be especially prepared to rub your eyes...


It is possible that things will not get better
than they are now, or have been known to be.
It is possible that we are past the middle now.
It is possible that we have crossed the great water
without knowing it, and stand now on the other side.
Yes: I think that we have crossed it. Now
we are being given tickets, and they are not
tickets to the show we had been thinking of,
but to a different show, clearly inferior.

Check again: it is our own name on the envelope.
The tickets are to that other show.

It is possible that we will walk out of the darkened hall
without waiting for the last act: people do.
Some people do. But it is probable
that we will stay seated in our narrow seats
all through the tedious denouement
to the unsurprising end -- riveted, as it were;
spellbound by our own imperfect lives
because they are lives,
and because they are ours.


A. D. said...


Brian Campbell said...

Virtual pats on the back always welcome...

Charles said...

I just saw this--belated congratulations!!! :)

Brian Campbell said...

Belated pats on the back are also always welcome... thanks, Charles!