Poet and WUStL professor Mary Jo Bang will be launching her new book, "A Doll for Throwing" at Left Bank Books in the Central West End on Thursday, August 30th, at 7:00pm. Centering on the Bauhaus art community in the years leading up to its elimination by the Nazis in 1933, her groundbreaking work takes a collective movement, a way of understanding the world, a series of art works themselves, as the "voice" of her poems. The title itself refers to the work "Wurfpuppe" by Alma Siedhoff-Buscher, which is a "flexible and durable woven doll that, if thrown, would land with grace." The event is free and open to all.
Rachel Hadas' 1998 poem "The End of Summer" speaks to that time when the "sweet smell of phlox drifting across the lawn" portends an end to August and our confrontation that September--and Fall--are coming. How do we confront the loveliness and the work to be done as winter approaches? Poems like Hadas' remind us that "not light but language shocks us out of sleep" as she urges us to "redeem the time".
The End of Summer
Sweet smell of phlox drifting across the lawn--
An early warning of the end of summer.
August is fading fast, and by September
the little purple flowers will all be gone.
Season, project, and vacation done.
One more year in everybody’s life.
Add a notch to the old hunting knife
Time keeps testing with a horny thumb.
Over the summer months hung an unspoken
aura of urgency. In late July
galactic pulsings filled the midnight sky
like silent screaming, so that, strangely woken,
we looked at one another in the dark,
then at the milky magical debris
arcing across, dwarfing our meek mortality.
There were two ways to live: get on with work,
redeem the time, ignore the imminence
of cataclysm; or else take it slow,
be as tranquil as the neighbors’ cow
we love to tickle through the barbed wire fence
(she paces through her days in massive innocence,
or, seeing green pastures, we imagine so).
In fact, not being cows, we have no choice.
Summer or winter, country, city, we
are prisoners from the start and automatically,
hemmed in, harangued by the one clamorous voice.
Not light but language shocks us out of sleep
ideas of doom transformed to meteors
we translate back to portents of the wars
looming above the nervous watch we keep.
Join us at The Green Center this Wednesday at 4:00pm to read and chat about Robin Coste Lewis' poem "Summer". Lewis is the epitome of both the artist as investigator of all things visible and invisible and an American-in-the-World. From the Poetry Foundation:
"Lewis earned her MFA from NYU’s Creative Writing Program where she was a Goldwater fellow in poetry. She also earned a MTS degree in Sanskrit and comparative religious literature from Harvard Divinity School. She is a Cave Canem fellow and was awarded a Provost’s fellowship in the Creative Writing & Literature PhD Program at USC...Lewis has taught at Wheaton College, Hunter College, Hampshire College and the NYU Low-Residency MFA in Paris. Born in Compton, California, her family is from New Orleans."
We hope you'll come by for a cuppa and stay for the beauty and insight of poetry among friends.