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Original Essays | September 30, 2014

Brian Doyle: IMG The Rude Burl of Our Masks



One day when I was 12 years old and setting off on my newspaper route after school my mom said will you stop at the doctor's and pick up something... Continue »
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    Children and Other Wild Animals

    Brian Doyle 9780870717543

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1 Local Warehouse Poetry- A to Z
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The Selvage

by

The Selvage Cover

 

 

Excerpt

The Selvage

1

So door to door among the shotgun

shacks in Cullowhee and Waynesville in

our cleanest shirts and maam

and excuse me were all but second

nature now and this one woman comes

to the door she must have weighed

three hundred pounds Would you be

willing to tell us who you plan to vote

for we say and she turns around with

Everett whore we voting for? The

black guy says Everett. The black guy

she says except that wasnt the language

they used they used the word

weve all agreed to banish from even our

innermost thoughts, which is when

I knew he was going to win.

2

At which point the speaker discovers,

as if the lesson were new,

she has told the story at her own expense.

Amazing, said my sisters chairmans

second wife, to think what youve

amounted to considering where youre from,

which she imagined was a compliment.

One country, friends. Where when

we have to go there, as, depend

upon it, fat or thin, regenerate

or blinkered-to-the-end, we shall,

they have to take us in. I saw

3

a riverful of geese as I drove home across

our one-lane bridge. Four hundred of them

easily, close-massed against the current and

the bitter wind (some settled on the ice) and just

the few at a time whod loosen rank to

gather again downstream. As if

to paraphrase. The fabric

every minute bound

by just that pulling-out that holds

the raveling together. You were driving

all this time? said Steven. Counting

geese? (The snow falling into the river.)

No. (The river about

to give itself over to ice.) Id stopped.

Their wingspans, had they not

been taking shelter here, as wide as we are tall.

Slight Tremor

The fine fourth finger

of his fine right hand,

just slightly, when

hes tracking our path

on his iPhone or

repairing the clasp

on my watch I

will not think about

the myelin sheath.

Slight tremor only,

transient, so

the flaw in the

pavement must

have been my

mothers back.

Verenna

Smothered up in gauze, the skys

   been healing for a week or

two, conserving its basin of gruel.

   The shops have closed

in sympathy. The ferrys ministrations

   barely mark the hour. And just

when wed convinced ourselves that

   beauty unsubdued betrays

a coarsened mind, the fabric starts

   to loosen, lift, and daylight

all unblighted takes a gaudy good-

   night bow. What sodden

indistinction just an hour ago had all

   but persuaded us not to

regret resumes its first divisions:

   slate from cinder, ash

from smoke, warm dapple-gray from

   moleskin, dove- from

Quaker-gray from taupe, until

   the blackwater satins unroll their

gorgeous lengths above a sharpening

   partition of lake-and-loam.

Give up yet? says the cirro-strato-sable

   brush. Then watch

what I can do with orange. And,

   flood-lit, ink-besotted, so

assails the upper atmosphere that

   all our better judgment

fails. The Alps? Theyve seen it all

   before. Theyve flattened

into waiting mode. The people?

   Flat bedazzled. But

in fairness had a shorter way to fall.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780547750095
Author:
Gregerson, Linda
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin
Subject:
Single Author / American
Subject:
Poetry-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20121031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
112
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z

The Selvage Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$23.00 In Stock
Product details 112 pages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - English 9780547750095 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Gregerson opens her fifth volume with gritty American scenes — the farms where she grew up, with their Scandinavian immigrants, 'the map// of blessed second chances writ in tasseled/ corn,' the school bus stops of blue- and of white-collar towns, occasions for lessons about place, about social class, about 'honest work.' She then takes off into Latin literature, Christian tradition, Renaissance art, Greek myth. 'Theseus Forgetting' compares the checkered record of that Athenian hero to the checkered records of our lives, and to the history of classical reading: 'What comes to us in pieces — think// of Sappho on the midden heap — lays claim/ to us in ways the merely/ perfect can't.' Gregerson uses her learning while trying to share it; weaker poems can read like remarks on their sources, but the strongest stand on their own, whether considering Ovid by the Black Sea (he didn't give the place a fair chance) or reacting, without allusion or ornament, to grisly child abuse: 'When I'm/ allowed to run the world you'll/ have to get a license just to take the course on parenting and// everyone/ will fail it and good riddance we'll die out.' She is not often so angry, but she can be that powerful, that direct, regularly." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , The poems in Selvage, Linda Gregersons first collection since her Kingsley Tufts Award winning Magnetic North, allude to Milton, to the great myths of Ariadne, Theseus, and Dido, and include a magnificent series detailing Masaccios frescoes about the life of Saint Peter.
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