Sunday, February 3, 2019

Winter Reading 2019 Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners


Nye, author of The Turtle of Oman and 19 Varieties of Gazelle, has a new collection of poetry. "This sequence of ninety-five poems pays tribute to the essential voices past and present that have the power to provoke us, lead us, and give us hope." The poems touch on various topics of interest with some dedicated to specific people, or with titles that name the inspiration for the verses.

One of my favorites refers to Emily Dickinson. 
"What would you do if you knew
that even during wartime
scholars in Baghdad
were translating your poems
 into Arabic
still believing
in the thing with feathers?"

Others refer to Lucille Clifton, Walt Whitman, Longfellow, and other notables. The verses share happiness, nostalgia, sadness, reflections on places from Baltimore to Belfast, and experiences of all sorts.

After reading through the book, the sentiment in 'Anti-Inaugural" is not a surprise. 
"I pledge allegiance
To respect
For every one
Of you
Talking truth 
is hard
Staying silent
should be harder
My voting preference?
Every person
In this city"

If you are already a fan of Nye's poetry, then this collection will be like a return to a familiar friend. For those who are encountering her writing for the first time, this is a representative sample of her abilities. She is lovely to meet in person, as I was lucky enough to do at NCTE 2018.

No comments:

Post a Comment