Thursday, June 29, 2006
I am reading Late Wife, by Claudia Emerson. It won the Pulitzer Prize this year. I had never heard of her before, and am enjoying the book. My favorite poem so far: "Migraine: Aura and Aftermath." The kind of poem I wish I'd written. And then, yesterday, I saw a poem of Emerson's in the new issue of Virginia Quarterly Review, that knocked my socks off, about a piano burning in a field. Amazing stuff: "We watched the keys going furious and all at once,/heard in the fire a music-like relief when the several tons of tension//let go, heat becoming wind in our faces. We learned that when true ivory burns/the flame is playful, quick and green. And in the ash, last lessons: the brass,//clawed feet we had never before noticed, the harp's confusion/of wire, the pedals worn thin, shaped like quenched-hard tongues—loud, soft,//sustain. We waited with her until they were cool enough to touch."