Connie Voisine Book of Poems a Finalist for LA Times Book Award

Congratulations to poet and good friend Connie Voisine. Her book book of poems Rare High Meadow of Which I Might Dream (University of Chicago Press) has been chosen as a finalist for the very prestigious Los Angeles Times Book Award. Connie lives 40 miles up the road from us in Las Cruces, NM, and teaches in the Creative Writing Department at NMSU.

She's a wonderful colleague and citizen in our world of letters in piece of the desert along the border. She's full of curiosity about language and poetry and diverse poetics. Her poetry, of course, is remarkable. But for me as a poet her friendship has been invaluable. She's always there to listen to my distracted riffs of whatever oddball idea I have about poetics. She lets me wander. When I was putting together White Panties, Dead Friends & Other Bits and Pieces of Love I was unsure of a number of the poems. I hadn't yet read them many of them aloud to an audience. I asked her to look at the manuscript. Instead, she invited me to join her on Friday afternoons when she and two other poets--Sheila Black and Carmen Geminez-Rosello Smith--got together and shared and critically discussed their work. It was a great time for me. I'm not a workshopper, I've didn't do Creative Writing School, so I was a bit nervous. Especially the old man poet among three women poets. But they, especially Connie, welcomed me and helped greatly to improve the book. I wouldn't have had that experience without Connie's presence, so I thank her and wish her good luck on Friday night. That's when the winners are announced with lots of pomp and ceremony. My fingers are crossed. Good luck, Connie.

(By the way, son John Byrd will be in LA for the book fair representing Cinco Puntos Press. He's in booth #347 in the lawn on top of the staircase this time. Primo real estate we hope. Go by and visit with him. He'll be delighted to see you.)

Below is a poem is cut and pasted off the University of Chicago Press website. Being technically inept, I can't figure out how to put in all the line indents via blogger. Forgive me, Connie. To see the poem properly scattered across the screen, go here.

The Bird is Her Reason

There are some bodies that emerge
into desire as a god
rises from the sea, emotion and
memory hang like dripping clothes—this
want is like
entering that heated red

on the mouth of a Delacroix lion,
stalwart, always that red
which makes
my teeth ache and my skin feel
a hand that has never touched me,
the tree groaning outside becomes
a man who knocks on my bedroom window,
edge of red on gold fur,
the horse, the wild
flip of its head, the rake of claws
across its back, the unfocussed,
swallowed eye.

1 comment:

butch said...

Just when we think we have read, digested, been subjected to every kind of poet, every kind of poetic perspective, along comes old Bobby and presents us with yet another source of poetic wonder. I really liked Connie's poem; rarely has coitus ever been so vivid, yet classical and abstract too. You are bang on, she is a powerful poet. Thanks to you my poetry book shelf is filling up, and all of it comprises a motley crew of muses for my own writing. Your description of your gentle collaboration with these three lady poets is wonderful. One day soon when I retire and take off the yoke of this white collar, I will seek out poetry slams and readings and open mics. My training as an actor should be preparation for delivery of my verse, and my 65 years will add the spice the poetry of my youth was missing.