Open Books: Events
September 26, 2012 07:30 PM
JENNIFER GROTZ & MARTHA RHODES
We're pleased to welcome these two poets visiting from New York. Jennifer Grotz is the author of two full-length collections, most recently The Needle ($23), published by Houghton Mifflin. A professor at the University of Rochester, she is also a translator of French and Polish poetry. The work gathered in her new volume is contemplative, intense, and quietly graceful—
Before the moths have even appeared
to orbit around them, the streetlamps come on,
a long row of them glowing uselessly
along the ring of garden that circles the city center,
where your steps count down the dulling of daylight.
At your feet, a bee crawls in small circles like a toy
Summer specializes in time, slows it down almost
And the noisy day goes so quiet you can hear
the bedraggled man who visits each trash
mutter in disbelief: Everything in the world is being
Summer lingers, but itís about ending. Itís about
redden and ripen and burst and come down.
city workers cut down trees, demolishing
one limb at a time, spilling the crumbs
of twigs and leaves all over the tablecloth of street.
Sunglasses! the man softly exclaims
while beside him blooms a large gray rose
huddled around a dropped piece of bread.
Martha Rhodes's fourth collection, The Beds ($14.95), was published this year by Autumn House Press. The founder and director of Four Way Books, she teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and Warren Wilson. Her latest volume speaks out of loss, at times with humor and always with a sharp eye—
"The Jade Plant"
I want to go to the room
where the jade plant thrives
on the white pine floor. I want
to sit next to the plant all day.
against the white plaster wall.
I want the room available all days
and evenings, it just one of the several
in my house arranged by me
for peaceful times. I want to go
to the room now though it does not exist
in my life yet. It is several hundred miles away
in a small cottage by the river.
A friend who knows me best might say,
I can see you in this house with its contained yard.
I sit in the white room often. The plant
is old and thick. Its leaves are shiny deep green.
My sister arrives soon from Maine
and I'll give her this room for the week,
the jade, actually, our mother's—
what she last bought the eve she lost
all memory of what it is to buy something,
to recognize what it is you want, to point
to it and say, That should be mine now.
And then it is.