Thursday, August 12, 2010
POETRY READING ON MONDAY, AUGUST 16
Join us on Monday, August 16, as Taylor Graham reads from her new book and Michael Gregg Paul returns to the poetic stage. Reading starts at 7:30 p.m., 25th and R. Refreshments. Free. Please listen to capradio.org at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 13, to catch the interview with Taylor Graham.
Taylor Graham has been a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler for many years. Her book The Downstairs Dance Floor was awarded the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize, and her newest, Walking with Elihu: poems on Elihu Burritt, the Learned Blacksmith, is just out. For a recent article on Taylor in the Sacramento Bee, visit http://www.sacbee.com/2010/06/02/2791845/poets-fascination-with-elihu-burritt.html. She will be featured on capradio.org at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 13.
Michael Gregg Paul is author of 6 chapbooks; co-editor of two poetry anthologies in national distribution; sometime journalist; award winning visual artist in several media; and once-upon-a-time garage band drummer. Michael Paul's poems have appeared in a number of literary journals including Spillway, Pearl, Blue Satellite and The Valley Contemporary Poets Anthology. Michael's next volume of poetry, "Dog Whistle Politics," will be released in the fall from Lummox Press.
Two Poems by Taylor Graham from her new book:
A Ship Goes Aground off Nantucket
based on Elihu Burritt’s “A Child’s Question”
Fifty-four Forty or Fight! It looks like war,
United States against the Motherland.
And off the coast of Massachusetts, Mother
Nature brews a storm.
Against the wind, British sea-men
wrestle down their sails.
But still, their ship
wrecks on the shoals off Nantucket.
Merchants and whalers, good Nantucketeers
rope themselves in, throw themselves
into the waves to save foreign sailors
from a common foe and friend, the Sea.
Now observe this English mariner
shivering and drenched,
wrapped in Yankee
comforters and warmed with tea
as a small child asks
her father, isn’t this the enemy
we wish to go to war
I felt somewhat astonished that my countryman, who was said to be master of fifty languages, had to get some one to read his speech in French.
- William Wells Brown at the Paris Peace Congress, 1949
It’s one thing to decipher Nous connaissons
la vérité so Pascal’s words make English sense.
Harder to compose your own thoughts
into French that a Parisian might grasp.
Beyond that, what genius, to turn correct grammar
into phrases that move intellect and heart?
But how ticklish, without language-labs,
to speak your lofty words out loud,
to master accent and emphasis; inflection
and the affective pauses.
Elihu, even with quick-and-easy travel tapes,
I can’t get my mouth around
the word for “no” in Greek.
My Spanish will not romance its “rr”s
with a trill of the tongue.
In French, my nasals sound like whining.
At the Peace Congress you gave up
your script to a Frenchman,
believing your sense and phrasing, in his
fluent mouth, might better fire
to your passion.
Posted by Eskimo Pie Girl at 3:17 PM