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
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,