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Friday, 4 March 2011

Featured Poet: Yerra Sugarman


Eyewear is very glad to welcome poet Yerra Sugarman (pictured) to its pages this cold sunny Friday in London.  Sugarman is the author of two poetry collections, both published by The Sheep Meadow Press: Forms of Gone (2002) and The Bag of Broken Glass (2008).

She is the recipient of many distinctions, such as a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry, a PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, two prizes from the Poetry Society of America, a Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award, a Canada Council for the Arts Grant for Creative Writers, a Chicago Literary Award for Poetry, and a “Discovery”/The Nation Poetry Award.  Her poems, translations, and critical articles have appeared in such publications as The Nation, Prairie Schooner, Cimarron Review, The Massachusetts Review, Poetry International, Literary Imagination, ACM Another Chicago Magazine, Pleiades, Lyric, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, How2, The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature, as well as in the French journals Siècle 21 and Europe.  She lives in New York City, and currently teaches poetry at Rutgers University.

How Dare I Say, Then


I hull you from the hide of night.
 You soak up starlight,

shiny cellos—

two sisters dimming the moon
         with oaken hips.

Please, come

        sip black tea with me.

Come to
branches of speech.

Between the dill and the parsley,
 let your soles ring
like recess bells.

Lift your skirts up.
     Step across the dark
mutilated sky.

Stay clear
of the ash
                on the eaves on your way here,
roses pinned to your collars.    

And though I have no proof

that there is compassion for you—
what’s living breathes in 

            this atmosphere of slaughter and grief—

the past’s not far,
lit like lemons.

     I discovered it among the astonished 
fishes of your names,

my hands clasping the damaged 
parcel of this world.

     How dare I say, then—
                  your agony snapping in the wind—

my bones are my prison bars,
or, like a breeze off the sea—leaf-shaped—

I’ve coveted dying.

Know I don’t like rain.
I’m afraid to grieve.
Sadness has made me
  gentle. 


poem by Yerra Sugarman; reprinted with permission of the author
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