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Showing posts from September, 2017

I COME TO POETRY WITH CUPPED HANDS: In Conversation with Phoebe Wang

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Every few minutes a drone over my left shoulder causes me to look up from the hammock, where I've received multiple mosquito bites while immersed in Phoebe Wang's lyric poems. The drone is bigger than a mosquito: a hummingbird, perhaps attracted by the red strings slung between trees, or the open throats of daylilies. It hovers as though still, as though watching; maybe I've set myself up in a nest zone. The physical world grounds this poet's work; details are precisely observed and energy-of-being lands on the page in orderly, measured language. We spoke during the summer about foundations, stillness and movement, and what comes next. SUSAN GILLIS: How did you first come to poetry -- or it to you? PHOEBE WANG: I come to poetry with cupped hands. I also come to poetry with certain habits of mind and routines, in that I have come to rely on poetry as a means to achieve, not an epiphany or even clarity, but a way through a moment of bewilderment or doubt. It&

Phoebe Wang: A Poem

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Phoebe Wang THE CHILD-BRIDE: A LETTER after Li Po I saw no changes in my life those first years of marriage, negotiated like a trade alliance. A child in a collar of point coupé , I shivered beside you, smelling of stale bread, already greying from years of tribal wars. In three months you were back at sea sowing my dowry like a new kind of tree. For two years there was little news. I slept in my usual bed. I was fifteen when you washed up. I masqueraded in breeches, roamed Paris for days, watching fine ladies descending from crested carriages. Had I no thought, my family chorused, of their honour? At twenty I at last agreed to sail from Honfleur. What can I say about the crossing? The sea couldn't bear us. So this was a new world: the raw smell of lumber, of pig manure in straw... At Québec the mud lay thick, the roofs leaked, you were mortified. I watched you kneeling in the rows of peas, seeing what you planted. I spoke Algonquin almost as well a