Skip to main content

Poem by D. Nurkse

Eyewear is very honoured and pleased to welcome D. Nurkse (pictured) this Friday. He is the author of nine collections of poetry, including The Border Kingdom, Burnt Island, and The Fall (Alfred Knopf, New York, 2005, and 2002), Leaving Xaia and The Rules of Paradise (Four Way Books, New York, 2002 and 2001), Voices over Water (Graywolf Press, 1993/Four Way Books 1996), Staggered Lights (Owl Creek Press, 1990), Shadow Wars (Hanging Loose Press, 1988), and Isolation in Action (State Street Press, 1988). His poems have appeared in some of the best places for poems to appear, like The New Yorker, Poetry, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry Wales, The American Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review - and dare I say Nthposition.

Nurkse has written extensively on human rights, on repression and children in Haiti, on the impact of apartheid on children, and on the effects of maternal mortality in Africa. He worked professionally for Defence for Children International, and was a consultant to Unicef and to organizations that serve and advocate for refugees. He has been involved with Amnesty International for thirty-five years.

Poetry awards include a 2007 Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, 1984 and 1995 fellowships from the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts, a 1993 Whiting Writers Award, a Tanne Foundation grant, two awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Bess Hokin and Frederick Bock prizes from The Poetry Foundation.

Nurkse has taught poetry in Master of Fine Arts programs at Brooklyn College, Stonecoast, and Sarah Lawrence College, where he works currently. He taught writing for many years at Rikers Island Correctional Facility. He has lived in Europe and Latin America and is now based in Brooklyn, New York.

Over the last few years, it's meant a lot for me to be able to publish some of his powerful, beautifully-crafted, and brave poems. He reads in London (UK) June 20, 2007, for Poetry London, at Foyles, in The Gallery, at 6.30 pm. Do go and hear the man himself.



October Anniversary

1.
We dial a recording
and order Vitamin K,
Cipro, twin masks.

Shunted between prompts,
we stare at each other
with deep longing,
drumming our fingers
while the line grows faint.

We borrow a Glock and wrap it
in a Chamois cloth and lock
the bullets in a separate drawer--
where to hang the key?

We stockpile Poland Spring
under our bedstead
and feel that bulk
nullify the give
when we make love.

2.
Huddled before the news,
we touch the screen--
our bombs rain on Kandahar--
we can’t feel them:
just a thrum, the pulse,
a film of dust, a red glow
shining through our nails.

3.
We saw it
and can’t stop watching:
as if the plane entered the eye
and it was the mind
that began burning
with such a stubborn flame.

We saw the bodies jump
and couldn’t break their fall--
now they wait so gracefully
in midair, holding hands.


poem by D. Nurkse
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

OSCAR SMOSHCAR

The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…